Because of the price of gold, the piece had to be on a modest scale. Working and experimenting with gold proved a joy to Toch. She decided to work with the original composition of gold – 90% gold, 9% Silver and 1% copper. “It’s very unusual nowadays but it’s absolutely typical of the objects from that time and place.” The composition suggested that it was panned from a river. “It’s equivalent to 21.7 carat. I wanted to connect the new and the old through their elemental composition as well as though ideas and form.”
Toch melted grains of gold, alloyed them with silver and copper, producing an ingot to roll into a sheet, the latter in Birmingham in a small foundry, run by Andrew Mayor, a man in his late 70s. “The slowness was important for me; making it from scratch, from grains of gold and the metaphor of that transition is there as well in the melting, the changing in states of metal from solid to liquid. Nothing changes it, it’s a magical material.” The flat sheet was spun to create the narrow neck, but then it was hammered to its final shape. Toch made special tools, for the project.
In the final work Toch rested the gold funnel on a block of white chalcedony, a typical Turkish stone. “I realized that when it’s standing upright, it looked like a vessel, a complete vessel. That’s wrong. It needs to be open, so you’d look through it.” She wanted to convey the metaphor of movement, the migration of objects. “The interior had to be reflective. It’s highly polished to look almost like liquid. You need to be able to look inside it, to have that openness to understand it. I wanted it to look like a limb, like part of something and when it’s standing it is just wrong.” Apparently Arthur Gilbert had often shown friends his new acquisitions on a cushion. Toch experimented before deciding on a rectangle of chalcedony, a stone often found occurring with gold in its natural form.
The final work is called ‘Place to Place.’ “It relates to a transitional state in time as well as between space and countries. As someone who immigrated myself, I can relate to this state of in-betweenness,” explains Toch. “Objects have always travelled across the continents throughout history, with settlers, for trade, as gifts or looted treasures. The migration of objects has connected between people and cultures.” Adi Toch’s new work provides just that connection.