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Ellen McCallie's Diary

Day 34: Melting Gold

Photo: The  scientistsHooray! We made things out of gold. The furnace actually worked, concentrating most of the gold into globules. Jonathan then set out to melt them using a carbon arc and then carve a final product.

In terms of the earrings, Kathy and I had a ball heating, bashing, stippling and polishing. Amazingly enough, the earrings really look good. The rich color and luster of New Zealand gold is quite striking. We left the shapes organic, allowing the materials and tools to dictate edges and textures. We tried to attach garnets to the center of each koru, but the glue we had didn't stick, and we couldn't make nice mounting holes — the gold was too thin. So it goes.

Photo: GoldThe last three days were quite pleasant, too. Neither Kathy nor I are practised artists or craftspeople. Instead, we both approach the challenges with a bit of planning, the desire to do a good job, and a lot of enthusiasm. We figure if we aren't having fun and figuring it out, we aren't doing it right. Plus, we add several amusement breaks into each day; they usually involve dancing, singing and laughing heartily. It's also kind of nice to know someone in a different part of the world will be wearing the other earring of a one-of-a-kind set that you made together. Hoorah!
Good day! Good program! Good series!

Photo: Kathy and Ellen model their gold earringsThe next morning
Ever woken up after a fabulous night and just been happy to be alive? It's an elated, yet warm feeling, festive with acceptance of self and others.

The party for this series started early — 6:30 pm — so everyone was dancing up a storm by 8 pm. Even better, all of our new friends from Franz Josef who helped with the series showed up to celebrate with us — laughing, dancing and creating general merriment.

Transit: in transition; not here, nor there; trying to get somewhere. I want to be doing things or being with people during transition times. For this series it took four days from the end of the shoot to actually be home. Some of us cleaned up the sawmill the day after the party, and then we all met for a great hangi, Maori barbecue, hosted by Robin, the owner of the sawmill. The next day we headed for Christchurch, a six-hour journey by car. We didn't fly out until the afternoon of the next day. Then it is about 24 hours of air travel. Lots of hanging on, waiting, wanting to stay, yet longing to get back to our typical realities. Jonathan and I had some really nice talks during this transition period. He's wonderful at reflecting on experiences and allowing them to be, while growing from them. Kathy and I laughed and laughed. You also have touching moments with almost everyone else as well, remembering a fantastic piece of the trip that we shared together. Funny how we spend so much time together for 40 consecutive days and then we leave to perhaps see each other in passing during the year, or, in my case as I live in the US, maybe next year if we're hired back for a new series.

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Photo: Ellen McCallie
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