I remember hearing the word ‘dofasco’ as a kid. It was one of those words that you’d hear on the radio, sitting in the back seat of the family car. My dad worked for a mining company near the small town where I was born so I suppose he was interested in whatever the news about it was, metal prices and such. Today you’ll find the name Dofasco Steel Mill in the archives of the city of Hamilton, Ontario where it operated for more than 100 years. It’s fitting that Hamilton born Alex Kinsley Vey uses steel in his work and it’s fitting that he makes jewellery, being born to parents who are fine jewellers. Both of these influences are present in his varied collections. Check out his work if you get the opportunity, especially if, like me, you grew up with that dofasco word.
An excerpt from an interview on Klimt02…
‘The industrial landscape of Hamilton; made up of stacks, chimneys, and funnels, is arranged for function rather than aesthetic appeal. The jewellery I create mimics the factories and storage barns which grow from the grey backdrop. Individually, these forms are crude, but together they form complex structures. This industrial aesthetic is both an integral part of the city’s identity and a blight on its coast.
The Berlin Iron movement of the 19th century serves as a historical link for my practice, with industrial materials and aesthetics used in self-expression, as well as the subtler connection to loyalty to one’s city/state/identity. Connecting this with the pride and loyalty many people have for Hamilton – though this is partly for its grimy industrial attitude – has led me to look back at my home and my own identity.
In contrasts with my family’s background in fine jewellery, with its focus on exactness, cleanliness, and bright finishing, my work attempts to capture a rough, decayed feeling and an abstract aesthetic by using very simple forms to capture not only the physical characteristics of the city, but also the rough, grimy ethos of its people. Rust and surface oxides are key to relating that idea, and the minimal removal of tool marks is intentional.’