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“Mettle & Stone”

- Stephen Steger

Artist’s Statement

 “We are all sentenced to solitary confinement inside our own skin for life.”

– Tennessee Williams. 


Characteristics, key events, and situations of our birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality combine to form the human condition. We are formed and shaped by life much as weather erodes the stone that becomes the clay used by the potter. Though we are social beings sharing much of our lives with and around others, we each see our experiences from a singular perspective uniquely our own.  There is a trait though shared by all, is simultaneously unique to each of us, that being our mettle. A medieval variant spelling of “metal”, mettle has come to describe our strength of spirit, our courage, and our resolve when faced with conflict. We each are faced with our own struggles; abuses, physical and mental health, addictions, social issues, economic woes, and a plethora of injustices. It is then our “mettle” our will that decides whether we will be defined by these adversities or rise above them.

Inspiration for this body of work came in part from making wire wrapped jewelry and in glass blowing through wrapping of molten glass as a decorative surface texture. Additional inspiration came from sawdust fired ceramic torsos with a variety of accouterments by Estella Fransbergen. Further, several cultures to include Native Americans, African, and Japanese have used sinew, rope, as well as variations of metal to wrap their pottery. From these and other influences both internal and external, my goal is for the viewer to question and value their own mettle.

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