This brooch was made by Iris De La Torre who was born in the city of Guadalajara in western Mexico. She came to London in 2003 to study art & design and jewellery making. Iris has a passion for bright, bold colours and her Mexican heritage has greatly influenced her. She uses plastic which is a medium that lends itself well to her striking designs. This brooch takes as its inspiration Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s most famous female artist. You can see the distinctive facial characteristics of Frida: floral headdress, thick eyebrows that meet in the middle, big earrings and eyes that stare right at you.
Frida Kahlo on Bench in New York 1939
At the Victoria & Albert Museum in London there is an exhibition on Frida Kahlo – Making Herself Up, it ends on 14th November 2018. The exhibition is a fascinating glimpse into Frida’s world; there are photographs, her paintings, her clothes, makeup and medicines. When she died in 1954 her husband Diego Rivera, also an artist, sealed all her private belongings in her bathroom and said it could not be opened for 50 years. This is the first time these most intimate and personal items have been on display outside Mexico. There are even her calliper and braces. Frida contracted polio at six and then was in a bus accident at 18. Despite her disabilities she was a successful painter and active in left wing politics, befriending the exiled Trotskys.
Cotton huipil (top), Frida often wore these as they were both comfortable and covered her brace, the long cotton skirt and holán (ruffle) covered her calliper.
I bought my Iris Frida brooch last year before I knew there was going to be an exhibition. I was attracted to the design, colours and I penchant for plastic as a material. Looking at Iris De La Torres’s website I notice she has quite a number of fun brooches, I particularly like ‘The Eye of God’ but sadly it is out of stock at the moment.