A Juried Exhibit of Contemporary Artisans
Woodstock Museum - Woodstock Ontario
September 5 to November 1 - 2008

Grave Goods

Featuring the work of:

Caz Bently
wood block prints
Daniel Bernyk
metal scuplture
Pat Burns-Wendland
hand spun weaving
Scott Caple
Larry Cluchey
wood turning
Catherine Crowe
Dark Ages Re-creation Company
living history
Sandra Dunn
& Steve White

Dianne Edwards
Kelly Green
wood carving
Allison Hamilton
Lydia Ilarion
fine metalwork
David Ivens
Lloyd Johnson
forged metals
Mary Lazier
Elsa Mann
Darrell Markewitz
forged metals
Rosemary Molesworth
Kelly Probyn-Smith
Mark Puigmarti
forged metals
David Robertson
forged metals
Brenda Roy
fine metalwork
Rob Schweitzer
tablet weaving
Graeme Sheffield
forged metals
A.G. Smith
Steve Strang
painting & drawing
Ruth Swanson
Kathryn Thomson
blown glass
Mark Tichenor
Laura Travis
stone carving
Catherine VamVakas Lay
blown glass
Sara Washbush
fine metalwork
Brigitte Wolf
stained glass

Kelly Probyn-Smith
Elfworks Studios
Toronto, ON

Kelly has been fascinated with Blacksmithing since childhood, and has been learning the craft from her peers for about the past 10 years. The world of blacksmithing and metalworking has opened many other artistic doors for Kelly and she has expanded Elfworks to encompass much more than jewellery and metalworking. A theatrical make-up & wig artist as well, Kelly has been very inspired by the ideas of maskwork. Kelly has done numerous small shows out of the studio, inviting other artists to participate, and was proud to have her flirst Blacksmithing works shown in the Out of the Fiery Furnace exhibit at the Woodstock Museum.

“ Every culture and age approaches the concept of death and dying differently. For some it is a beginning, for others a transition, for some it is an end. Whether we mourn or celebrate or both there are certain objects and symbols which often cross the boundaries of culture and time and touch the collective unconscious' idea of death. By doing so these same symbols speak to each of us of the profound questions and emotions of the subject for both the living and the dead. “

Forged steel & copper

In many cultures both ancient and modern death is seen simply as the end of one journey and the beginning of another. In older times and to some extent today there were things buried with the dead to help them on their journey. Often these included items for trade or payment of passage, objects to aid in survival and other such things needed for day to day living. Today this often survives as our tendency to bury favourite things with the dead to comfort them...we often choose coffins which are plush and lined with rich materials not only to honour the dead, but as a holdover to making them more comfortable on their journey, be it to Heaven, the Summerlands or their next incarnation.
We also often mark their gravesites with guardians - be they angels or sungods - to guide and watch over loved ones in their passage between the worlds. Godheads are often depicted to "draw the attention" of the gods to the passing soul so that they may guide and protect. Godheads and angels may also serve to protect the soul from unfriendly spirits and those who might lead it astray. Sometimes these beings are there to comfort the living, sometimes to comfort the dead.

Stone tablet with copper repouse panel inlaid, forged steel
Personal Collection of the Artist

Death is one of the greatest fears for the majority of people. Part of that fear stems from the uncertainty of what comes after death, part of it comes from the fear of being forgotten. To this end we have developed much culture and ceremony around death. One way to comfort both the living and the departed is to mark their gravesites. Be it a simple cross or an elaborate stone structure these markers comfort us with the knowledge that our loved ones are undisturbed, resting peacefully and above all that they are not forgotten.
Without such reminders there is often a feeling that something is unfinished, that something vital has been left undone. My parents are buried together, and while my father has a marker my family never commissioned one for my mother. It has always distressed me that my mother was not honoured with such a marker and for years I have wanted to have one made. It occurred to me several years ago, that perhaps rather than having one made I could create one myself, and this show gave me just the prod I needed. So to fulfill my personal promise to my departed Mom I have created this piece. Thanks very much to the creators of the show for the push.


Text and Objects copyright the individual artist. A general statement of copyright can be found HERE