Posts Tagged ‘gold’

The Glitter Of Gold On Black

Saturday, February 26th, 2022

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:

Untitled, 2022, 40cm.sq.

but it’s only the latest in a series of black and gold works, including these:

Light gold hand applique on black, work in progress, completed 2021. ~190cm x 90cm
Timetracks 1, 2006 100cm x 109cm (gold leather on black.)
Timetracks 1, 2006, close detail – hand stitched.
Timetracks 15, 2009. 225cm x 125cm. Mixed media.
Timetracks 15m, close detail: black cotton, gold lame, nylon organza, burned.

Craftsmanship in Gold

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

La Lechuga copy

We saw this amazing religious art piece “La Lechuga” at the Museo do Oro (gold museum) in Bogota Colombia last month.  It’s  stunningly beautiful – and nicknamed ‘the lettuce’ because of the intensity of the 1485 emeralds on it – plus 13 rubies, 28 diamonds, 169 amethysts, 62 baroque pearls and 1 sapphire.  Constructed of 4.9kg+ gold (the gold colour’s a bit washed out, I haven’t been able to correct it)  It took the Spanish silversmith Jose de Galaz 7 years to make 1700-07.  After I took this photo I was told by the guard that photos were not allowed in that part of the museum, and so what was to have been the close-up of the whole thing remains the only pic we have, but you can see it in its awesome splendor and correct gold and other colours at http://www.banrepcultural.org/blaavirtual/coleccionarte/artplas/custcol.htm   Do a virtual visit of the Museo del Oro at  http://www.banrepcultural.org/museo-del-oro   and     http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/museo-del-oro-bogota?projectId=art-project    There’s a similar piece, though not as grand imho, called ‘La Preciosa’ and you can see that also on wikpedia, I think – or perhaps the first link above.

We love museums, fine craftsmanship, and gold of course – so of course obviously we made a beeline for the Museo del Oro in Bogota , and there are regional smaller collections in major cities so we went in Medellin and Cartagena, too!  What we especially liked in Bogota was that seniors go in free of charge! and one day a week everyone can go in free – that would be a crush – it was pretty crowded both times we went …

gold mountain cat Bogota blog

The text along side this  told us that this  regalia (a nose plate and earings) was found in a tomb from the Yotoco period.  It related the wearer the mystical powers of felines, and the circular markings liken it to the jaguar, as do the prolongations to its limbs. Note the emerald eyes!!  The craftsmanship was breathaking – and it is so interesting that the cat quality could be so captured in that head on perspective.  This gold was pretty thin, though I imagine the nose accessory, measuring about 8cm x 10cm overall would have required some practice to wear successfully with due dignity, if it was ever actually worn in real life, and that would have been magnificent to see.  But it might have been a kind of death mask thing.

gold mends bogota blog

It is always interesting to remember that people everywhere repair important objects – which are precious for some reason, including practicality.  I will never forget an exhibition we saw years ago at the Musee Quai Branley in Paris, about which I blogged in Totally Memorable Exhibition.  I wandered off to google about mending things in general, and found lots of articles, many of which mention kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending ceramics with a ‘golden seam’  – just google that word and check the images.  I even found http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mending.htm which some might find helpful….

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