Saturday, November 29, 2008

Art theft

Art Theft
Sad news this week as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. I had three significant works of art stolen as I delivered them to family in Millcreek, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. I had just driven the works out to family from Pittsburgh, PA with my brother-in-law Doug Belnap... (Thanks Doug!) completing the cross-country trip in just 27 hours, arriving at the home of Steve and Maura Cantwell late Thanksgiving eve. I left the pieces in the vehicle overnight with the intention of unloading first thing in the morning. What we awoke to was a morning of loss and grief as we realized the car had been ransacked of all personal items. Our loss included two end tables/nightstands created exclusively for Maura and Steve Cantwell as well as a sculpture titled "Touched" for the family of my brother, Eric Metzler, who died two years ago.

The loss of "Touched" was the most devastating of the day. After hundreds of hours of work,I was bringing this to our family gathering so that my brothers and sisters could contribute and impart a little of each of themselves to this gift for Eric's family. "Touched" was carved from a section of a birch tree recovered from one of my brothers last jobs as Metz Tree Service before his passing two years ago November 1st. Eric was lost to us when the tree he was climbing fell with him tied into the tree's crown. I helped his sons Josh and Justin clean up some of his open jobs. We were able to complete and recover the birch section from one of these projects. The base of the sculpture starts in six sections representing each of the members of his family and diverges to represent how our actions touch other lives in ways we could never comprehend.

The other two casualties in this ordeal are a pair of original night stand end tables I made for my sister and her husband (Maura and Steve Cantwell). The stands are made from oak and sycamore from Pttsburgh, our hometown. The sycamore is from the Point Park University, where my sister attended, studying dance and theater. The oak tops are from an urban tree, a local white oak crotch. The remainder of the oak was salvaged from a local steel supplier. These pieces are also incomplete as I needed to be able to pack them flat for transport to be assembled when I arrived. The stands were packed as 4 sides, the top, and the floor, all as separate sections. The doors were not hung and the drawer fronts were also not attached to the drawers.

In addition to the irreplaceable sculpture and original end tables I also lost a camera I received as a gift from my dear friend and love of my life, Randie Snow; my collection of CDs; my sleeping bag; and a hand made quilt that "Touched" was wrapped in. I had just received the camera days before my departure... (a Canon A1000IS) upon which were stored the only pictures of the lost pieces in their latest stages of completion. The images here are all of earlier stages of construction of the works.
Local Salt Lake City television station KSL TV was gracious enough to report on our loss and inform viewers of the works in hopes that someone would return them. We give our thanks and gratitude to Sandra Yi for her time and efforts to aid in the recovery of these pieces.