Jack Metzger, Earth, Wind, & Fire

Upon discovering this large, overgrown, early 19th-century marble well-cover on the Vermont/New York border, I was fascinated and extremely excited. Retrieving anything from the ground, earth, lost, hidden for years, represents a rebirth, a continuation. Many thoughts and feelings immediately surfaced: First, the formation of marble and the millions of years of heat, pressure, movement, and natural elements in its creation. Then the extremely skilled stone/ marble cutters of the early 19th century harvesting marble from the earth.

Most likely extracted from one of the rich marble quarries of the Dorset, Manchester, Danby Vermont region, the natural beauty of the well-cover is very pronounced and inviting. It’s color is remarkable, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off the naturally carved ripples on its surface. Nature’s Art.

Upon further examination and research, I was drawn toward the 22 inch diameter of the well-cover’s hole, entrance, and its importance. It represents protection, security and continuation of Life. Clean water is so important for the well – being of the farm, its crops, animals, and people. I love the symbolic meaning of the circle … Wholeness,  Totality  …

From all this, my question was … ? …How can I display and feel connected to this beautiful artifact/relic of geological History? Therefore, my design and creation of the forged, welded stainless steel cradle manifested…

Through the years I have collected “bits and pieces of history.” It might be a rusted finial from a 19th century fence post, a broken ovoid stoneware jug, or a 1840’s pie safe with old repairs. A shape, texture, design or a color would catch my eye, and I could “feel” that it was going to be a part of my “art” someday. Part of my excitement comes from that initial “not knowing,” a prominent stage in any self-taught artists’ journey. Many of the items that I saved, had been broken, lost, discarded and forgotten, and these eventually became my art.

Sometimes, I will just sit and hold a piece of broken 19th century pottery, stoneware. Maybe it has a beautiful leaf pattern, a word, or a part of an animal on it, and I know that it belongs with another piece that I found, possibly years earlier. There is something about putting pieces, each with their unique history, together, and seeing how one supports the other, to create something new and “whole” that is deeply satisfying to me. I hope to uplift people with my work, think maybe they will find this wholeness in themselves, as I have begun to. Life never turns out like you think it will. Sometimes we feel broken, worthless, and without value, and something or someone comes along to help us remember that life has not diminished us, it has made us better and, although different than the original plan … Deeper …