Surrey Artists Open Studios – Seamus Cuddihy – Sculptor-Sculpture and Paintings with ashes “in memoriam”

June 20, 2012

Just been along to visit the studio of Seamus Cuddihy, a sculptor in Chessington, which is my neck of the woods.  And while I really enjoyed looking at his work and learning about the processes involved in the making of cast sculptures, it was the WOOD which “got me” again.  I think I might be requesting another visit when I decide to start making my next woodcarving, or even when making some woodblocks for printing!

Seamus has a great selection of beautiful work on display in his garden and studio.  There is plenty to see and it is well worth a visit.  I am hoping that maybe next year it might be possible for more artist/makers in Chessington to take part in the Surrey  Artists Open Studios.  It cannot be that it is just myself and Seamus in the Hook and Chessington area?  I would be interested in hearing from other artist/makers in Chessington/Hook who might be interested in looking into the idea of taking part as a small group in the Surrey Artists Open Studios in the future.  It might work out well.  It helps if more than one person get together with something like this, because people are more likely to come and visit is there are several types of work on show.  I have been meaning to sort out joining KAOS (Kingston Artists’ Open Studios) for ages, but still haven’t got around to doing it.  Another thing for the “must do” list!

Seamus has a great collection of indoor and outdoor contemporary wood carvings and cold cast bronzes.  I think my favourite is “Self Assured” in which Seamus has managed to express a very strong sense of inner vitality and  centred emotional expression, to such an extent that I cannot remember when I last came across such an engaging sculptural head.  I found myself wanting a conversation with it!

See his website:

The sculptures are very reasonably priced indeed, many under £200, and it is worth taking a look and making a visit to Seamus’ studio if you have a special occasion coming up, as he does Life Casting (Nothing to do with the theatre!!! – Rather your own body parts used to make a cast… Don’t worry, it can be done while they are still attached to the rest of you!) and also Commemorative Plaques.

I did not realise that it is not only metals that can be used in the casting process but also non-metals like marble and slate.   In fact, most dry materials can be cast, for example ash.  This made me think that if someone had died, you could get their ashes cast using a cold casting technique, and I wonder if this is common place?  I have thought previously of using ashes in paint, because I have heard of this being done, but never quite got around to trying it out.  Plus I didn’t have any ashes around.  Mmm,  we won’t go there.  I am worried about imaginary accusations of being “morbid”, but this is a silly thing, because we all are born and we all die.  I think having ashes in a painting or a sculpture, in the very fabric of it, is an excellent idea.  It seems very harmonious and fitting to me: You can  have the remains of a life in something of beauty. It will  both remind one of the creative power of life, and also the person (or pet) who, while they are no longer right by us, live in our hearts and thoughts through the memories we still experience, and through the connections we make when we sometimes see things which were meaningful and had a special significance, for whatever reason.  Painting and Sculpture are made for such things. I am surprised that more of this kind of thing doesn’t go on!

If anyone wants some ashes in a sculpture or a painting, I guess you now know where you might enquire!

Take this opportunity to visit Seamus at his studio in Chessington, Surrey.

Thinking of painting, I think, for an abstract painting incorporating ashes, “Niche” would be a  meaningful pattern composition wise to follow. I see this dimension and expansion of the meaning here:

niche– an enclosure that is set back or indented

alcove, bay – a small recess opening off a larger room
apse, apsis – a domed or vaulted recess or projection on a building especially the east end of a church; usually contains the altar
cinerarium, columbarium – a niche for a funeral urn containing the ashes of the cremated dead
enclosure – a structure consisting of an area that has been enclosed for some purpose
Below is my painting “Niche” painted a while back now, but one I am enthusiastic about, and which contains lots of visual elements which I can see myself utilising in the future:
nice non objective multi coloured abstract canvas painting expressionistic lyrical surrey south west london painter painting sale buy

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