David Neale is a Gold and Silversmith who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.
Excerpt from an interview with Melinda Young for Metalab Gallery
What led you to gold and silversmithing?
There is something about the scale of goldsmithing that drew me in. The whole realm of the goldsmith is so fascinating, with all the elements, chemicals, fire, danger, risk and loss! (like how you can just melt something at the final stage if you aren't concentrating!!)
It’s entrancing and beguiling, in goldsmithing there are always techniques to master, secrets to uncover. I'm always learning and growing.
What is your approach to making?
Immediacy- that’s what I love when making. However, that sort of rawness is not easy to control. When a piece is successful; when it seems to be more than what I've put into it- this is the most enjoyable part of the whole pursuit.
Do you have a favourite material?
It is truly beautiful. I never used to like it though, probably because as a youngster I had only ever seen highly polished 9k- which as I gradually realised, is hardly the whole truth about Gold.
I decided to go gold prospecting in my early 20’s- you know, a whole lot of mud and gravel and sloshing around in a creek. To begin with it was demoralising and unsuccessful, I would be squinting into the bottom of the pan, asking “is that gold? hmmm. Is that gold? errr.........”. But when I finally found some gold amongst the gravel, it was a wonderful moment! An unmistakable glow- it was electrifying- I shouted “Ha-Haa!” (then hushed myself and looked around suspiciously)
I’m recounting this to illustrate that you might think you know gold, because, you know, you’ve seen it around... but you really don't know much until you get it from the earth and then make something out of it.
There is growing interest in ethically-sourced gold- a worthy and interesting pursuit, not only for environmental responsibility, but also in establishing higher value for the material. Provenance of the material should be a very important factor in determining the value of an object.
Your work is largely populated by botanical forms, creatures and recently, bread… what attracts you to these themes?
This says something about what I love, and what I belong to. I really have made a lot of leaves... maybe this is a ‘paradise lost’ thing- wanting to return to a beautiful garden with the animals. We all want that.