(Originally appeared in The Grapevine: January 22nd-February 5th, 2015)
Sometimes, in this world of plastic, disposables, and mass-produced stuff, it’s easy to forget that there are people out there making functional, permanent, and gorgeous products. If I say “blacksmith,” you are probably picturing a grizzled, bearded man with giant arms and a gruff, abrupt manner. Maybe that’s just me. It’s definitely not Alexa Jaffurs.
Alexa is not just a blacksmith, she is an artist par excellence and a quirky crafter. If that seems like a contradiction, it kind of is, but it seems to be what she is all about; challenging assumptions.
If you were lucky enough to spot Alexa at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market in the weeks leading up to Christmas, your eye was no doubt caught by her incredibly funky and functional hook racks. One of these ‘hooks’ is featured on her business card. Each hook, see, is a horse’s head that is a little bit goofy, a little bit gorgeous, and a lot of personality. Each is different and each bears the mark of its creation as part of its charm. They are clearly hammered metal, but they almost seem alive. It occurs to me that I might not ever want to hang anything from these hooks; anything that would cover the heads, at least. I doubt you would, either.
Although I was enamoured of everything at Alexa’s booth, I fought through the crowd of Christmas admirers to select a gift. It was the weekend before Christmas, and everyone and everyone else was at the market. I spotted a dragonfly ornament, and then another. Each was different and each one more awesome than the next. My children helped me choose the “beautifulest” one and Alexa wrapped it up in newspaper for me. It was not an easy gift to give away, I must tell you.
Upon opening it, my sister immediately announced that it would not be going on the Christmas tree, but would be part of her permanent décor. It is just too splendid to hide away for most of the year, and perhaps a bit heavy for less sturdy trees.
My appreciation for Alexa’s work, however, absolutely exploded when I visited her website at www.alexajaffurs.com. I love the trivets – a delicately suspended leaf design that belies its extraordinary strength. I love the garden obelisks – tall structures that somehow seem organic and natural even before they become entwined with gardening growth, for which they are designed. And I was rendered absolutely speechless with the most ingenious, glorious, and creative medal display/wall hanging. I will tell you it is based on The Wave by Hokusai, but I cannot possibly do it justice by describing it. You need to visit her site.
Alexa also does custom interior work for the homes of her clients: gorgeous things that seem to float and soar, contradicting their strength, weight, and solidity.
If you are looking for something incredible, and truly unique, you need to check out Alexa’s work. I guarantee you will be amazed.
Alexa can be found, by times, at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market (not in January or February), and always on the Internet at her breathtaking website: www.alexajaffurs.com.