In the blog posting below, I write of great art at the Britannia Mine Museum. Here I write of the craft of mining materials, namely the making of chain mail.
On Sunday we visited the Britannia Mine Museum where I bought a piece of chain mail that in its beauty amounts to art. The piece was made by Daniel Miller of Victoria. He with his mother had a booth in the sun. He was making and selling chain mail of an intriguing variety. Almost sensuous in its look and feel. For I looked at it, and felt it, and got lost in its interlinking, interlocking sexiness.
It is erotic. I had dreams of lost youth and lost opportunities for the pleasures of the flesh. I recalled long poems of Beowulf and bloody death; poems of heroes and villains; of multiple slaughter in Anglo-Saxon vernacular; of battles lost and won. Here it was before my very eyes in metal and more metal.
Many decry mining. Many attack mining. The reasons are obvious and understandable. They fight the potential impact of destroyed environment; lives lived and died; communities that flourish and wither; water resources forever polluted; tailings facilities looming o’er the landscape awaiting the next ice-age to be moved to the sea; and the inevitability of change in spite of protestations of sustainability and all those myths.
Yet without mining, its metals, and chain mail, we would have been slaughtered as were umpteen foreign powers, camps in the War of Roses, and first nations. Fact is that the metals of mining made our surviving ancestors successful in battle and war. We are the offspring of those who tamed the earth, brought forth metal, wrought chain mail, guns, cannons, and those other powerful weapons of war all the way to atomic bombs.
Those who take refuge in stories of origins and superstition, and who eschew science and engineering are now marginalized, cast asunder, and rendered worthy only of charity. They have descended into comforting myths that make them poor, unhealthy, and unable to advance in the struggle to advance. It is sad. We owe them charity. We may seek to educate them. We cannot deny them the right to their ignorance and persistent lies. But we cannot admire them or incorporate them into the metals of mining, its crafts, and its wicked, evil, and successful breeding ways.
Thus Daniel Miller and his mother, sitting in the sun of an August summer along the BC coast epitomize the warlike past and present. She talked with me of grandchildren, how many, of what gender, of their individual attitudes, and the pleasure of seeing them so different from us and their parents. He sat making the chain mail: a flat piece of copper rings of simplicity and beauty that I bought for less than its true worth; of full pieces to cover the blooming breast of a warrior maiden; of gloves that my grandson kept putting on as his aggression told him they would give him an advantage in a karate encounter; and necklaces of sinuousity enough to raise the lust of a lover.
I have Daniel’s address. Contact me if you want to contact him and get one of his amazing pieces. They should be in every collector’s collection and in display in the art cases of every mining company. And his stuff is cheap—for he is underselling himself.