REMEMBER THE LOVE
Steel and Ceramic Raku 2011
Created by Michael Rieger
It was a hot September day and I was standing in the middle of Ground Zero photographing the search and recue effort. My personal cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t know with a Denver area code, and for some reason I decided to answer it. On the other end was a gallery manager named Diane. She had many requests for blessing cups, so she was looking for a ceramic artist to create Raku chalices.
I said I would be interested in making those but added, “Let me tell you where I am standing right now.” I told her what I was doing and the photographs I was taking. There was a long silence, then she began to tell me that her son worked in Tower 2. He was late that day and was not there when the planes hit, but he had many friends who were. We talked a little more and I said I would call her when I returned home – whenever that might be.
In early December 2001 I went to meet Diane at the gallery and we talked of Ground Zero and blessing cups. I have been making chalices for ten years now. I make them for individuals and for churches, and they have been used in all sorts of ceremonies and by many different faiths.
When I began to think of what kind of sculptures I wanted to create for the tenth anniversary, I started with thinking about images. The image of the Towers before they fell is one that I kept coming back to. I was working in the studio one day, moving buckets of small steel scrap left over from past welding projects. I had been saving this stuff for years, thinking I would someday make a sculpture out of the random bits of metal. Then it came to me: take this pile of rusted metal and create the image of the towers. Maybe I could use them as pedestals for the sculptures I wanted to create. But still the image of the sculptures eluded me. How could I tell this story of love and understanding through shape and form? Then, as I was looking at one of the chalices I had created in 2001, I realized this was one of the blessings that had been given to me from Ground Zero. I thought of how much I love making these chalices for people. These are my sculptures of love and understanding and they belong not on top of those steel towers but within them.
Remember The Love
This sculpture is in search of a home and I am presently accepting offers.