Friday, 27 May 2011

Breon O'Casey: 1928 - 2011

Enough spleen - as in the previous post about Fat Cats.

Well I'm sad to read of the death of my jewellery teacher when I was at school in Cornwall - during the 1960s.

Breon O'Casey died, at the age of 82, last weekend. Maker, printmaker, painter and sculptor, I think of him as the last of the St Ives' Artists to leave us. The St Ives of the 1960s that I remember, that is.

I was still at school when I went to his evening classes at.... I think Redruth Art School. I went with a schoolfriend whose family knew O'Casey. And Breon would kindly pick us up in his car and give us a lift to the classes and then back home. I remember him as a burly, gentle-voiced man with a bit of a smile on his face, and as a patient teacher.

In his class I learned to solder, shape, and polish; to make rings, chains, earrings - and, in my case, to set stones not very well. I recall my determined effort to enamel a simple design onto a ring... The enamel never fused and the ring collapsed impressively. But I don't recall a single "Tut"- nor any feeling of failure infused into my efforts by Breon. Believe me, that's quite a gift.

So maybe it is no surprise that, on returning to Cornwall from London... my first serious efforts to get back into creative work were given over to jewellery making. Breon O'Casey, I realise, was a strong keystone in my creative learning. I'm sad that he has gone, but I'm thankful that I was lucky enough to have been taught by him.

Oh- and you can read his obit in The Independent by clicking here.


Kismet said...

Hello - I am a jeweller/jewellery historian who loved Breon's work and is much saddened by his death - I am putting together some ideas for a paper on Breon's jewellery ( I was lucky enough to interview him some years ago and speak about jewellery which was great ) but I would love to speak with former pupils of Breon's - would you be able to get in touch with me perhaps and chat about your time being taught by Breon ?. I will leave my public details here for you - Atelier Gallery, Newark, Notts - 01636 611001 ( Tuesday to Saturday ) - Many thanks. ( lovely blog by the way ! )

Little Grey Doll said...

Hello Kismet. Thanks for the thoughts about Breon. I'm not sure I can add much more than my Post. But I'll get back to you soon.
... And glad you like the blog.