As a simple human being inhabiting Earth during the present Holocene epoch, I am fascinated by the extraordinary geological and mineralogical research being conducted as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. I am most intrigued by the mission’s ongoing successional installation of robotic rovers (more specifically, the most recent two: Curiosity and Perseverance), each rover having been tasked with gathering mass amounts of astrobiological data, including evidence concerning past habitable conditions as well as searching for preserved signs of ancient extraterrestrial life. As such, my present (and ongoing) body of thesis work is inspired by my interest in Martian astrogeology, and certain specific research-gathering processes associated with some of the more recent aspects of the mission: drilling, core-sampling, and sample caching. My collection focuses on the significance of these processes, and their importance in examining the mysterious rock and regolith of Mars.
With regard to the ‘Stink Bug’ brooch(es), these pieces are the 5th and 6th iterations in a series of production prototypes, each created from a single piece of material which includes an integrated area for the catch and pin-stem. I have used a combination of simple goldsmithing techniques (sawing, embossing — using the hydraulic press — forming, and texturing) to create a three-dimensional form from a flat sheet of niobium. Although many might consider these insects ‘pests’, they remind me of summers spent with my family in Northern Ontario as a child, and exist (to me) as iconic symbols of nostalgia and sentimentality.