I’ve always loved the glitter of gold and the preciousness of this metal associated with glamour, prestige, and wealth. While I was still in early primary/grade school, Mum transformed a plain, black, very fine wool knit top with 3/4 sleeves and scooped neck, into a very glamourous evening top by outlining diamond shapes around the neckline with gold sequins, and then filling in those in the shapes with tiny gold-coppery seed beads. It was stunningly elegant, and she wore it at night for many years. My geologist husband has spent much of his professional life searching for and finding economic gold bearing mineral deposits. Our wedding rings and some special jewellery pieces are gold, and some of my favourite shoes down the years have been gold:
Immediately after we married, we moved to the Eastern Goldfields of West Australia, to the southern end of the mining city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, where gold has been mined continuously since it was first discovered there in 1893. It was so rich it quickly became known as The Golden Mile and attracted people from around the world. Since the late 1980s that rich zone just east of the cities has been mined in a vast open pit project ~3.5km x ~600m depth. Where we used to live and various historic mines that operated for many decades on that mineral rich zone operated have all been swallowed up in this vast hole, the Kalgoorlie Super Pit. But up until that project began, people used to go out after a good rain to fossick for gold in amongst the mine dumps very close to town, and for those with sharp eyesight and patience, finger-nail sized flakes and nuggets the size of a matchhead and smaller could be found glinting on the still damp soil. It’s true that once you get your eye in and see a matchhead sized piece of gold shining against that background, it’s as bright and obvious as a lighthouse beacon. That’s pretty exciting, and then it’s easy to understand how people get ‘gold fever’.
One nice sunny morning in 1985, probably, and certainly pre-mobile phone days, Mike dropped me off for a few hours’ fossicking out on an open area between the slime dumps, planning to return to collect me around mid day. After an hour so so, some people arrived nearby and began shooting at something – rabbits? tin cans? That flat barren landscape had suddenly become a shooting range! and I wasn’t sure whether to stand up and wave my arms to make myself obvious (a warning or a better target?) or curl into what might look like a rock from a distance. As I’m here to tell this tale, either I did the rock thing or lay down flat with my fingers crossed; and after what seemed like several anxious hours (but was probably only half an hour) they moved off and all was quiet again. Somewhere in storage we have a matchbox containing litle flakes and tiny nuggets we’ve both found.
So, you see, I have a thing about gold, and periodically feel a call to work with black and metallic gold together. I recently finished this small square piece to meet a particular call for entry:
but it’s only the latest in a series of black and gold works, including these: