I'm well into my 50's so my timely manner in blogging is a tad off. That being said, I pride myself in that I know how to do it at all! I want to share, not only the story of my experience but the jewelry creations that were a direct result of being in Yowah, Quilpie, Longreach, and Winton Australia. First, here is one of the pieces.
Bill and I arrived at his home in Yowah mid day. The Yowah Moon welcomed me in the most handsome way. Shot the Moon, and forgot about it. (truly the best thing to do) Here it is 5 months later with it's inspiration.
Theresa is the miner of this Yowah opal, she is amazing, truly inspiring. Bill Kasso, the other opal miner/dealer/cutter in the picture.
Now for the story:
The heat finally broke today, 45C was the average, today it’s 30C.
I knew from my experience of being in the Alaska bush that one has to fortify oneself from the inevitable lack of stimulus, it is not comfortable, I will say it again, it is not comfortable. One's swearing ability increases 100 fold. Words that you never knew you knew, flow freely, phases that would make a trucker blush. You realize that you are an addict, an addiction resulting from constant stimuli. So we brought paints, canvas, books, Rosetta Stone Italian, camera, photoshop etc…. to keep me entertained and to finally do the things that I have precious little time for. What I did not prepare for was the heat. I’ve been in extreme heat before, but not like this, DRY, never let up, Deadly (literally) heat. I painted one picture, never attempted Italian, did work on Photoshop because it only involved my fingers, read, but fell asleep each time just a few pages in, Humbling, experience. If a friend ever express’ to me that they are feeling a little down, I will no longer start with “what have you been thinking about?” “is this about your childhood?”, no, it will be “are you cool enough?” “What’s the temperature in your house?”
I am now convinced, that I know why Congress had such a hard time doing anything meaningful these last 8 years. The air-conditioning was not working correctly.
Well, enough about the heat. (Though, I’m sure it will color much of what I write.)
We bought a painting by Melanie Hava in a little spot in Eulo, Australia. The proprietor of the shop is an opal dealer, extraordinare (think jovial bloody Santa Clause), a delightful German Australian who has more rough opal in the back of his house then some opal fields. When Gary ushered us into the backyard, I could not believe my eyes when they rested on this 84 year old fella sawing opal in 45C,(112F) one Yowah Nut after another like it was a Spring Day in May! Sawing about 1500 in a day, one every 20 seconds, a pile waist deep of Yowah Nuts with nothing in them, truly…. chasing opal.
Back to Melanie; As soon as I saw her work I knew we were kindred spirits. “Gary, is this painting for sale?” “I love it, it is so Klimtish with an aboriginal sensibility, it looks like my jewelry.” Spot on….she is an Austrian Australian… in her words… “ I am fortunate to have been born into two different and contrasting cultures, my father coming from the oldest city in Austria - Enns and my mother from the aboriginal Manu people in Queensland."
I too come from two contrasting cultures, Lebanese & English. My work has often been compared to Klimt’s paintings in jewelry form. A painting coming to life with the wearer as Klimt’s model, and the jewels, being the abstract design enveloping her…. Our connection, an Artist that lived in the late 1800’s who was influenced by mosaics during his golden era and I’m sure, his father who was a gold engraver. Klimt had an artist spirit that wanted to shake things up. As Friedrich Schiller said, "If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please only a few. To please many is bad” How wonderfully serendipitous to run into Melanie Havas artwork.
Another piece " The Roll of the Dice" The narrative continues.... "A narrative or story is any report of connected events, actual or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images."