EARTHLY NATURAL RESOURCES TRANSFORMED INTO ART
Article and Photography by Linda Matteson
Dave and Debra Kasprick share their love of earthly treasures. Red Cod Forge and Affinity Stone Jewelry and Design have recently opened their newly renovated gallery in Nanoose Bay. This energetic husband-wife team are exhibiting a collaboration of their most recent work in a cozy and intimate setting that invites the visitor to sit and chat while appreciating the couple’s creative designs.
The two artists have different perspectives on their subject matter, making for a varied display but the raw earth essentials of metal, stone and wood shape their West Coast inspired vision.
At Affinity Stone Jewelry, Debra likes to create “outside of the box”. “I start with an idea and allow the process to dictate the design and final product,” she states. With no formal training in jewelry design, she obeys no formalized rules and allows the flow of the piece to be dictated by the materials she is inspired by.
Her works are “statement pieces” with large pendants and intricate necklaces. “Many of my clients requesting custom work are looking for a way to accentuate a certain outfit and their own personal style,” she explains. “These I find the most challenging to create.” Her one-of-a-kind oversized pieces make a bold visual impression with textural layering and colour.
FORAGING FOR STONES
Inspiration comes to Debra through raw materials such as stone. “I’ve been a collector of rocks since I was a child,” she states. “My favourite design work is to portray a sculpture feel with the addition of brass, copper and silver.” “I’m not a ‘rock hounder’ as such, but work with pieces I’ve foraged or have acquired from friends.”
Across from the gallery you’ll find the “smithy” Red Cod Forge, the heart and breath of the metalworking process. Here, Dave fulfills his artistic vision in one of the most unique and innovative forms of artwork. Forged steel gates, life-sized metal sculptures, garden art and custom railings are but a few of the pieces you’ll find in his shop at any given time. Currently, front-and-centre as you enter the workshop, and perched high on a pedestal, is Hank the Bulldog. This custom-designed weathervane has not been without its own peculiar challenges in replicating the exact image of the dog (who frequently visits for live sitting sessions) along with the major test of balancing the oversized weathervane to properly keep it in place.
Dave’s artist’s statement illustrates his ideals: “the forms I deal with mostly come from the nature just outside my door. For my work to be a success, the sculpture must tease the viewer to interact with the sculpture’s organic, flowing lines: taking a medium that seems rigid and making it into moving, flowing, dynamic piece of art. We take the steel from the fire to the anvil, and with each blow we are breathing life into something that once was very solid and lifeless and giving it a life of its own. The magic is not the material, but the hands that create it.”
A GRAND UNDERTAKING
Dave uses the artist’s sketchpad or chalkboard to draw and design each piece of artwork, computer-assisted design programs are never used. “I work out of my head, it’s not always perfection, but the flow of working in the space is what makes it interesting,” explains Dave.
The West Bank Museum in Kelowna has commissioned Dave to create a life-size sculpture honouring the 2017 Centennial of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. “This is the largest and grandest undertaking of its kind for me,” states Dave. “The nine-foot exhibit will portray a Hudson’s Bay fur trader, his packhorse, and a First Nations man and woman all to be created in my Nanoose Bay workshop. Undoubtedly, I’ll be needing a bigger space in which to work.”
Dave is also to be honoured as guest exhibitor in the 2016 spring issue of The Anvil’s Ring, a quarterly industry magazine and comprehensive overview on what’s happening in the artist-blacksmithing world. His whale’s tails table, bench, and Hank the Bulldog, will be featured. This publication will be closely followed in July by the ABANA (The Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America) convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Dave will be attending and participating in hands-on demonstrations and evening forging competitions.
NANOOSE ARTIST’S’ CHRISTMAS CRAWL
The Kaspricks are a frequent sight at local summer markets. Their marketing and retail has to date seen them, by their own admission, limited to the Oceanside area, but that is rapidly changing. Out of Hand Artisans Annual Market will see them displaying and selling their work at Crystal Gardens in Victoria November 27, 28 and 29. “This will be our first year displaying at a Christmas exhibit,” states Debra. “Most years we are away in Mexico and unable to participate.” They will also be joining the three-day event at the Original Village Christmas Arts Faire in Qualicum Beach. “We are busy in our studios getting ready for these fairs,” states Debra.
This holiday season will once again feature the Kaspricks as part of the Nanoose Bay Christmas Crawl Studio Tour on December 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Every year they invite the public to drop by the gallery and observe a live demo of Dave working at the forge.
Sharing the studio space this year will be photographers Roy and Sharon Hancliff, potters Dee and Larry Aguilar, mixed media artist Lisa Cross from Candy Eyeland Art in Courtenay, and contemporary abstract artist, Diane McCarten. As a special twist, the Kaspricks will be hosting a Friday evening open house at Red Cod Forge on Dec. 11 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. A Nordic fire, warm cider and a magical tour through Dave’s fairy-lit sculpture garden, will greet guests. This will be an event for the entire family to enjoy.
Forged Christmas trees at a cost of $20.00 will be on sale with the entire proceeds being donated to the Nanoose Bay Community Cupboard. And for every purchase or donation made over the entire weekend, there will be a chance to win the original creation from Dave’s forge created during the demonstration.
The Kaspricks explain that they take creative inspiration from each other’s work, but they are also motivated by the strength of their community, by building relationships that make genuine connections with their customers, and finding their own ways to contribute.
Dave & Debra Kasprick
Phone: (250) 468-7489. Email: email@example.com
Address: 2155 Spur Pl. Nanoose Bay, British Columbia