XENOPHORA Co/Lab with DeAndre Levy
A One of A Kind Benin Mask in .925 Sterling Silver
A 3-day Collaborative Experience
Experiences are invaluable. They are life changing, soul defining and quintessentially what makes your life what living. As the creator of XENOPHORA I am always so inspired by the esxperience of the process and its the greatest gift to be able to share that with other people. DeAndre came to us with a design in mind... an African Mask with raw diamonds encrusted in the third-eye chakra of the mask. This request is unlike what we offer for XENOPHORA Co/Lab which is an experience of creating a ring in silver but I was excited to begin the 3-day journey of transmuting thought into matter with a project that has so much meaning for the both of us.
I anticipated the workload of sculpting a mask inspired by the royal African people. I admit I was nervous about the outcome of taking on such a big Co/Lab project with over 93 grams of silver and very special raw and naturally formed diamonds with this being Levy's first time ever making jewelry, in life! The purpose of the Co/Lab experience is for the student to take the reigns of the process with me guiding them along the path to transmutation and I wondered if I was a good enough teacher to take my new collaborator there. Even though, I have the habit of doing instead of instructing I was sure that together we will get there. Talks of alchemy, spirituality, our respective future plans for our personal and business development, past life experiences and the process of course planted seeds into the pieces.
A 16th Century Benin Mask from the British Museum was 3D scanned some years ago, which I tweaked in CAD adding a bail and scaling it down to pendant sized. It was then 3D printed in a prototyping resin and DeAndre learned how to make a silicone mold from it. I took the responsibility of cutting the mold with the medical grade scapel, as certain level of precision is needed for well-cut mold and I thought it be best we save that process to Levy's 2nd or 3rd Experience. Of course after saying, "I'll do it, I don't want you to cut yourself", the blade slipped and gouged a deep cut in the center of my palm just above my unicursal hexagram tattoo. It bled profusely for such a small incision. Luckily, he wasn't the squeamish type. After all, he's got a few battle scars from his many years as a professional athlete, particularly in one of the most contact sport in the sphere of America's staple of football. Several minutes of applied pressure the bleeding finally subsided and the mold was eventually cut.
DeAndre jokingly asked, "you put your vodou spells in this, didn't you?" Of course, I said. He clapped back, "I put my own vodou spells into it". I think that he was right.