Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why Feel for Steel?

WINTER 2010: Now that I have some down-time (in between teaching and surgery on my foot) I thought I'd add some content and context to this blog, or more accurately, a random journal. "Feel for Steel" is an unlikely moniker but perhaps ironic in that I've come to identify myself and my studio practice with steel that can feel(?). But it's not so puzzling if you know that I grew up in Detroit Michigan, the now rusting and disintegrating former industrial capitol of American manufacturing in the United States. A memory of a childhood visit to a River Rouge steel manufacturing plant came to me recently, and I wondered if it affected me in some unknown way. I suppose I was in 4th or 5th grade, and our class made a day long field trip, a pilgrimage many school children made in those days, to see molten steel being made into huge red hot long bars, and then, step by step flattened into enormous rivers of plate. I recall the enormous space of the building from our perch high over the plant floor; the noise, the sparks flying everywhere like the fourth of July, and the exhilaration of the dangerous heat. I think that's where it all started, but how that memory relates to what I do now I couldn't say. I'm sure I'm not the only child from Detroit that was quietly but deeply affected by this experience.