I am tipping my cowgirl hat to all of you fine people today… Happy 2013! The new year is off to an interesting start for me so far! It has involved frozen pipes, a very large rattlesnake, twelve spider bites, a ‘check engine’ light, and a new car! No animals were harmed.
Also, I have been having bizarre dreams… Bizarrer than usual. Not in their plots or cast of characters, but in their possible interpretations and apparent overall cohesion. All point to many prosperous days and magnificent presents! Typically, I dream of being in the passenger seat of a vehicle with no driver, careening down a hill with no brakes. But that is so 2012! This is 2013, people, and together we will accomplish great things!
This area has a history of people who have lived their lives on (bizarre?) dreams. Driving up Four Mile Canyon today, I passed the remnants of some of those dreams: The Black Swan Mill of the Black Swan Gold Mining and Milling Co., both built in 1902. Other small mine operations, with the names Smuggler, Orphan Boy, Free Coinage, and Slide, provided grueling, tedious work for miners here, back in the late 1800s. It’s tough to count just how many gold and silver mines there were in the area, but records show some 2,225 claims of which approximately 165 gold mines were considered significant. An impressive $27.2 million worth of gold, $330,000 of silver, and $40,000 of copper were taken from this region in the years prior to 1870. It’s easy to imagine the rugged miners’ hopes and dreams. Believe me, I am not a fan of raping the land (which is why I use recycled sterling silver to make my jewelry), but it is part of the rich history of this area, and it fascinates me. Many early companies sprung up in response to the growing mining community: flour mills, ice houses, sawmills, breweries, and makers of saddles and spurs. I recently learned that Boulder’s Crockett Spur and Bit Co. became one of the nation’s largest suppliers of spurs, bits and cowboy belt buckles in the world by 1948. The Crocketts stood apart from other major bit and spur makers of the 1920s because they were real cowboys turned blacksmiths. The metal work involved in some of their spurs is beautiful.
I was inspired to incorporate elements of the rowel shapes into jewelry, hopefully without being overly spur-like.