A new project in memory of the 29 miners who died inside Pike River Coal Mine two years ago and whose bodies still lie buried in the dangerously gassy tunnels, to the great distress their families.
I'm making 29 of these mounds, small versions of Spoil which was also about coal mining. I've completed six so far. I can make one in a day which makes a nice change from my other long slow projects.
My thoughts as I stitch these pieces are less about environmental impacts and more about the social costs of mining, one of the most dangerous industries in the world. An estimated 5000 miners die in Chinese coal mines every year. Over history, New Zealand has had several mining disasters which have reverberated widely through our small population. The lies that communities are told about the wealth that mining will bring to locals must be cold comfort to families grieving for their men or caring for loved ones disabled by the job. The imperative for mining companies to return increasing profits for shareholders is too often at the expense of safety.
Its a sad somber project but also very peaceful to work on. It fits on my lap and there are no tricky design problems to solve. Just the soothing steady push of needles into wool and through blanket. I turn to this work for relief from the challenges of my other more technically demanding projects and gradually the collection grows.