Friday, 19 June 2009

Green Gold Exhibition at the Art Workers Guild

Images from the Green Gold exhibition, a Candescent Project that was part of Coutts London Jewellery Week, June 09 and Respond! An RSA Arts & Ecology Initiative.

Candescent: glowing or dazzling from or as if from great heat.

The cuff & ring.

The Art Workers Guild Hall.

From a Suitcase to a Display Case

At the Art Workers Guild, I unpacked the mining tools that I had brought back from Colombia, and used them to fill the display case. Many admired the round, wooden batea, which twinkled with flecks of gold dust in the sunlight. Colombian coffee sacks completed the setting.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Life Imitating Art

From a painted trompe l'oeil noticeboard by Francis Martin to a real life noticeboard featuring the wonderful portraits of the Oro Verde® miners by Kike Arnal.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Light & Shadow

As I was setting up on the last day of the Green Gold exhibition, early morning sunlight was streaming through the window. I seized the moment and captured this image of the cuff and ring handcrafted from the Oro Verde® gold by Stacey Whale. Beautiful.

Cuff & Ring designed and handcrafted by Stacey Whale for The Candescent Project.

Stacey pierced the cuff and melted the cut out pieces from the cuff to form another sheet of gold, from which the ring was crafted. The cut out pieces were also used to set the rubies, sapphires and an aquamarine from Columbia Gem House. As ethical gold chain is not yet available to buy, wire was made from the Oro Verde® gold and used to make the clasp.

Paint by Numbers

This is the painting created by artist Francis Martin for the Green Gold exhibition, inspired by trompe l'oeil.

Picture Map

1. A Carriel is a small leather satchel, similar in appearance to a saddlebag, but worn over the shoulder usually by men. This bag is synonymous with paisa culture and commerce and is a beloved symbol of the industriousness and honesty of antioquenos.

2. Juan Valdéz. Character created by the National Federation of Coffee Plantations to promote coffee sales in the exterior. Juan Valdez represents the typical farmer from the Colombian Coffee Region that walks through the mountains accompanied by his mule (Conchita) who always helps him transport Colombian coffee.

3. The Amigos del Chocó Foundation (AMICHOCO) is an environmental NGO that fosters the sustainable use of natural resources and the improvement of the quality of life of the mainly Afro-Colombian population that lives in the Chocó Bioregion in Colombia.

4. Oro Verde® is the brand name of the first environmentally certified and socially responsible gold in the world.

5. The National Flower of Colombia is an orchid called the Cattleya Trianae (May Flower).

6. The Gold Museum collection in Bogotá began when the Banco de la República acquired a Quimbaya lime container or poporo, made of gold.

7. Indians panning for Gold. Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo 1535.

8. Oro Verde® miner Catalina Mosquera.

9. The Department of Chocó in Colombia.

10. Filigree earring, Zenú tradition.

11. A traditional wooden batea, used for panning gold.

12,13,14. Peine Mono (Apeiba), Escoba Babosa (Sida Glutinosa) and Malva (Malachra Rudis), the juice of which is used to separate the gold from the gravel.

15. Agrias Butterfly.

16. Colombian Flag.

17. Traditional Chiva Bus

18. The sombrero vueltiao or sombrero vueltiado (Colombian Spanish for hat with laps), a traditional hat from Colombia and one of its symbols.

19. The Andean Condor (vultus gryplus). Chosen in 1834 as the emblem of liberty and sovereignty, the condor is on Colombia's national crest. Today, there are many campaigns to conserve this bird and save it from extinction.

20. South America

21. Bogota to London is 5271 miles.

22. A cuff and a ring crafted from Oro Verde® gold by Stacey Whale.

23. A cup of English Breakfast tea.

24. London.

25. Colombia.

26. Candescent

The finished painting.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Real Price of Gold Article

Many of you visiting the Green Gold exhibition this week have expressed an interest in a copy of the article I have on display from the January edition of the National Geographic magazine. Here is a link to the article 'The Real Price of Gold'.

Monday, 8 June 2009

A Little Peek

The gold cuff and ring handcrafted by jeweller Stacey Whale from the Oro Verde® gold look so beautiful and delicate. The rubies and sapphires from Columbia Gem House have been sparkling at me today in the Art Workers Guild.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Green Gold Exhibition Flyer

To see how my search for 'Green Gold' and a beautiful, ethical piece of jewellery ends, come and visit us at the Art Workers Guild in London next week (8-14th June). The exhibition is part of Coutts London Jewellery Week and Respond! An RSA Arts & Ecology Initiative.

The exhibition is funded by Cordaid & CAFOD.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Bogotá to London

Having purchased 40g of gold from Oro Verde ® and with a suitcase full of mining tools for the Green Gold exhibition, I headed back to London.

Detail of the painting inspired by trompe l'oeil by Francis Martin.

A Successful Model

As the Oro Verde ® model has been successful, the next step is to replicate and scale up this initiative, both within Chocó and also nationally and internationally. Around 13 million people around the globe depend on artisanal mining for their subsistence, and very often environmental degradation and poverty accompany the reality of these communities. In 2005, the Oro Verde ® programme joined forces with international institutions to create the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) with two purposes. Firstly to adapt the Oro Verde ® programme to be applicable to other artisanal mining communities in the world and, secondly, to set an independent organisation that would develop an international standard to certify responsible artisanal mining practices. Both of these purposes have been met.

Oro Verde ® is the brand name of the first environmentally certified and socially responsible gold in the world. The Oro Verde ® programme continues to grow and expand, and is in part possible due to the existence of an independent, global label developed by ARM to certify fair trade gold, FAIRMINED, that while in the process of gaining market recognition, has gained a positive reputation in development spheres for leading a transparent and inclusive process in developing a fair trade standard for artisanal gold.

There is great potential for the expansion of the programme within the Chocó Bioregion, as 32 of the 93 municipalities have vocation for mining precious metals. In this context, the programme has great opportunities of enhancing the lives of thousands of families in the eco-region that depend on mining for their livelihoods.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

48 hours in Tadó

View of the San Juan River from my hotel

The highly decorative church ceiling

Tree tomatoes


A traditional Chiva bus.

Lucas, our taxi driver, whizzing past.

Three inquisitive locals.

Children´s Land (Tierra de niños-TINI-)

Another project is the Children´s Land (Tierra de niños-TINI-) which works to foster environmental conscience, and empower children between the ages of 6 and 12 by giving them a plot of land and helping them to care and manage it during a 12 month period. Through workshops and activities that focus on environmental education, artistic expression, children´s rights and the proper use of natural resources, the project seeks to promote in children an active citizenship and give them the necessary skills to make an appropriate use of their natural resources and act as agents of development and change within their communities.

Maribel Marquez is the co-ordinator of the project.

Gualdino Perea's Mine

Manual Mosquera and Jose Octaviano took us to meet Gualdino Perea, a miner who is part of the Oro Verde ® programme and who has been mining gold for most of his life. He explained that after extracting the gold, the land gains ecological stability within three years, and proudly showed us green plantain, cassava (yuca), and chacarrá, the fruit of which tastes like coconut. Other forest products include cocoa, ginger, achiote (a natural colourant), borojó, lulo, pineapple, banana, cucumber, chontaduro (peach-palm) and avocado.

Manuel Mosquera & Jose Octaviano

Gualdino Perea

Mining tools

Gualdino Perea's Mine

Gualdino Perea's Mine

Gualdino Perea's Mine