This fall I completed an Artist in Residence program in Dawson City, Yukon through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. With assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts I stayed for six weeks in the Gold Rush Town in a historical home called the Macaulay Residence.
During my residency, I chose to replicate a turn of the century steam pump that was left at the side of Princess Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, two of the main streets in Dawson City. Part monument, part waste, this object referenced a time prior to my arrival, a relic or reference to the gold mining that made Dawson City famous.
Translating a heavy iron object into thread seemed interesting to me as Dawson has many contrasting visual elements. I found the lace curtains in almost every window to be contrasting with both the harsh outdoor environment and these industrial tools that have been left from the Gold Rush which are scattered throughout the streets of Dawson City. My interest in diagrams brought me to the Parks Canada Archives where I researched more about these steam pumps. I was particularly interested in the "phantom view" of the pumps in these manuals which translates dense iron machines into transparent parts so you are able to see through the object. I was interested in the word "phantom" also as talk about ghosts and phantoms is common in Dawson City. The Macaulay Residence building where I was staying was also rumored to be haunted. I hope to contrast the heavy machine with delicate thread work to render this machine as delicate and ghostly.