GOLD RUSH MINER'S HAMMER
13" W x 20" H x 2 1/4" D
Redwood, 24k Gold Plated Cast Iron
In the mid 1800s, close to 300,000 prospectors headed west towards the California coast in search of gold. This movement had an irreversible effect on the environment, Native American population and our national psyche. Fashioned after the simple and necessary tool that all prospectors had at the ready, this hammer is the first in a series of sculptures based around this particular period of time. The Redwood used for both frame and head, powerful reminders of the natural resources destroyed in search of gold, are a call to reexamine the exchanges our ancestors made—and those we continue to make…
As with the sculpture series Utility, here the reversal of materials, while rendering the miner’s hammer functionless, is an exploration of the meaning of each material and their literal strengths and weaknesses. The pick head is carved by hand from solid Redwood while the handle was sand-cast in iron from the wood original by Michael and his sister before being plated in 24k gold.
The narrow Redwood frame includes a subtle reveal of wood around the inside on the box before it meets deep matte black paint. The miner’s hammer is mounted inside on structural posts.