Just outside Butte, Montana lies a pit of greenish poison a mile and a half wide and over a third of a mile deep.
Copper is an integral part of my printmaking. I use it to make etchings. I love everything about it – the color, the way my tools grab the surface and glide through the metal, the pink glow I see when I am wiping ink onto it. Yet, it comes with a high price. Copper mining is the cause of massive environmental destruction. Mine workers suffer from terrible diseases and a violent history of struggle for labor rights. Indigenous peoples’ land was stolen and stripped bare in search of this ubiquitous ore.
The Pit investigates copper mining at the Anaconda Copper Mine in Butte, MT. My husband’s family is from Montana and I visited the mine and the Berkeley Pit, the vast lake of poisons left over from a century of mining.
Pit began as a sculpture using old copper etching plates that I etched holes out of. the holes were printed as reminders of what's been removed. The plates were then etched with text about the devastation the mining has caused and blind embossed to create the pages of the artist's book.