Saturday, 5 March 2016

Nevada City Series: Gold Dust Collective

-->A few months ago I re-blogged the home of Tiger Lillie and Aimee from The Gold Dust Collective. Since then I have become a little obsessed with the magic that is Nevada City. The vibe is that of my favourite book "Handmade house" and it is great to see these awesome wooden homed communities are still very much alive and kicking ...... such a dream of mine to live like this........So i have decided to make March a Nevada City Month on Moon to Moon and will be featuring a few artists, shop keepers and other creatives lucky enough to call Nevada City their home....

So to kick off the Nevada City Series here is an interview with Nikiya from the source of my obsession...... the fabulous Gold Dust Collective
Jessica Agnew's wooden cabin and Ceramics in an artists community in Nevada City
Jessica Agnew

 Who are the Gold Dust collective?
 We are Kat Alves, who is an architectural photographer and mama and myself, a designer and mama. We were born here, left to go to college and see the world some, and returned to make lives for ourselves here. 

The home of Fat and The Moon's

How did the two of you meet?
 We were both born here, though didn’t know each other growing up, and were working on a styled photo shoot one day and realized we had a mutual love of quirky hand-made homes and homesteads that were built during the back-to-the-land period in our watershed. 

What inspired you to start the Gold Dust Collective?
 It’s a funny small town story. Gold Dust was originally a group of three of my dear friends who started it to do event and wedding planning. I was a part of a little retail establishment called Kitkitdizzi. The Gold Dust women had been working as employees at Kitkitdizzi and rented the back out to use for meetings. Not long after starting Gold Dust,  they bought Kitkitdizzi and realized they couldn’t do retail and event planning so the Gold Dust entity lay dormant until I begged for the name and green light to make it into something else. I wanted it to be a container of sorts to represent all of the local artists and creatives that make up our community. I was going to do design work and see what else came through collaborations with other creatives. Then I met Kat. We started talking about how we love people and spaces and letting the process dictate the direction our energy goes.

How do you meet your subjects for your Folktales? 
 We’ve known all of them so far. This is a small, tight-knit community. If you don’t know someone personally, chances are someone you know does, or your folks know their folks, or you’ve seen them a hundred times at the grocery store, or you go to their Yoga class, or they fix your car, or your kids go to school together.  You get the idea. There are many ways we all overlap, which is both wonderful and challenging. There are a few folks on the horizon we don’t know well, but are humbled to be able to meet. This whole project is having the side effect of growing us closer to the place we come from and the people in it.  


Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Nevada City? 
 Prior to the Gold Rush these lands were inhabited by Nisenan and Maidu Indians. The discovery of gold nearby in 1849 changed that dramatically with the sudden influx of miners and immigrants. These hopefuls blasted the hillsides with water, dug elaborate tunnels underground, and excavated the river beds and  in search of gold. It was short lived, successful for some, and devastating. There are huge swaths of land called the diggins where the soil has been all but washed away until Central Valley farmers put an end to it when the flooding became intolerable. But while it was happening a town was built, the architecture of which defines the downtown historical district. Ironically, the same river that was sought after as a source for gold by the miners, the Yuba,  became a source of magnetism for a new wave of preservationists and back-to-the-land enthusiasts in the 60’s and 70’s. They came here for the slow pace, the solitude, to be a part of some burgeoning spiritual communities, the mountains, and as so many say, for the river. We, myself and Kat, are the children of these folks. We are each raising kids in the town we were born in. We take our kiddos to the same holes we swam in as children. Nevada City is not one thing. It’s hippies and rednecks and artists and tradespeople, liberals and conservatives. It’s dynamic and it’s boring, Its history is informing its future. And its just really beautiful. 

You are working on a book , can you tell us a little more about this?
 A little. We set out to produce a visual story of the community and the diverse group of folks that make up this place, but it’s evolving all of the time. Presently we are digging more deeply into what story we want to tell. We always ask people why they are here and why they stay and what we hear is often some expression of a love of place. It’s hard to put words to. In a broader culture where people tend to migrate for work, we seem to be a community of the opposite, of folks who stay put despite the lack of it. And it’s not easy, especially for our generation. We seem to be, generally speaking, folks who favor quality of life over standard of living. 

You mention on your website that Dick Hotchkiss took a while to convince, do you have any other homes that you would love to capture?
 He’s just private. It’s one of the things we have to contend with being drawn to the very people who prefer to be reclusive or have homes that are illegal. We only want to capture the homes of people who delight in sharing them. So far we have been blessed. Being welcomed into someone’s private world in exchange for images and information is very intimate. I almost always get teary and absolutely, every time, am filled with gratitude. These places reflect the hearts of souls of the people who built and occupy them. We don’t take it lightly and are careful not to have it be an expose. There are many homes we would honored to be let into, that we haven’t even reached out to yet, and some we’ll never see. 

Thank you so much to Nikiya. Please be sure to check out their awesome website, especially their Folktales section for more about the Nevada City Residents

All photos by Kat Alves and can be found on The Gold Dust Collectives Instagram here


Laurel Hill said...

So excited to see the Nevada City posts this month! Before we moved to Montana a few years ago, that area was at the top of our list, it's so beautiful.

Juliette Williams said...

I am an artist living in Nevada City, and would love to share my view of this lovely place!

Kara Rane said...

Absolutely delights my heart to read the words of Nikiya- she is a true gem! Looking forward to seeing more about my home community!

theresa said...

hi there im a single mama strugglin in gold land here and cant find a home for myself two kids and cat and dog.. oh how i would love to live on the land with wood houses.. so so beautiful. might you know of any openings anywhere.. need to get grounded and get my kids and i into a tribe real soon.. be well Theresa