My friend Rafael Alfandary has passed away after a long battle with bone cancer, and I am off to the wake this afternoon in Toronto. Raf is the person who made all that big, artsy "Rafael Canada" jewelry that I have collected since the 1980s. Those who know me may recall the huge rings and dramatic chokers, and the wild clocks in my home. I will wear some today, too. A special piece - a huuuge sterling silver ankh from the 60s, that he re-signed for me in 2000.
We became fast friends when he contaced me out of the blue a few years ago after having seen my little ol web site devoted to his art. He had just arrived in Toronto after having lived in an ashram in India for many years, out of the public eye. After having designed jewelry for countless celebrities in the 60s and 70s (Liberace, Liz Taylor, Maggie Trudeau, etc.,) no one knew where he was or if he was even still living! I had tried to find out info about him for years
and NOTHING! Imagine my shock at having received an email from him, very excited and ALL CAPS... he had just discovered the net, a technology he was soon to embrace with gusto.
His wife Eriko is also a jewelry artist, and a lovely, kind person. You wouldn't believe what a good cook she is, too. Can whip up Japanese delicacies with her eyes closed. Every trip to their home was an incredible adventure in culinary delights. I feel so sad for her, as she and Raf were bonded at the soul. I plan to invite her up here to SMC if she needs a getaway.
He was a real character, brilliant and extroverted. Being in the room with him was like being in the presence of Picasso, with similar masculine enthusiasm and passion for life, business, and art, but with less misogyny. He'll be missed.
Fly high, Raf!