The work in progress of Guides to Elsewhere: 2/Eldorado

eldorado work 3

They were obliged to creep along, from rock to rock, for the space of a league, till at length a spacious plain presented itself to their sight. This place was bounded by a chain of inaccessible mountains. The country appeared cultivated equally for pleasure and to produce the necessaries of life. The useful and agreeable were here equally blended. The roads were covered, or rather adorned, with carriages formed of glittering materials, in which were men and women of a surprising beauty, drawn with great rapidity by red sheep of a very large size; which far surpassed the finest coursers of Andalusian Tetuan, or Mecquinez. “Here is a country, however,” said Candide, “preferable to Westphalia.”

The literary reference for this piece is Voltaire’s Candide: in the 17th chapter, the protagonist of the satirical French novel arrives at Eldorado, a kingdom isolated by high mountains where the streets are covered with precious stones, there exist no priests, and all of the king’s jokes are funny.

I imagined my Eldorado as a steep valley hosting a river of gold.

Here is how the valley was created:

eldorado work 4

eldorado work 2

It is not easy to use gold leaf on paper, as I experienced for a full day of trials: the gilding paste gets immediately absorbed by the uncoated paper and loses its sticking properties.

eldorado work 1

I decided to use PVA glue to seal the paper and the to apply the gilding paste on top of it; I quickly created a similar texture on a book that – I promise – I never bought:

eldorado work 5

It worked better as a whole, but the single pages would get too wet and would start rumpling.

A stick of Pritt glue did the job.

eldorado work 11


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