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Jack Chase, Sculptor


Birch Pond Sculpture


I was born in 1941 in Burlington, Vermont, and spent my early years on my grandfather's hillside dairy farm in nearby Fletcher.  With seven generations of my family in the ground there, that probably qualifies me as a native Vermonter.  Except for the Burlington part, which I can never live down.

I was fortunate to attend one of the last existing one-room country schools.  It had an outhouse, no running water, no drugs, and Mom was the teacher.  Politically incorrect by today's standards, each boy carried a jack knife--an essential tool to sharpen pencils, play mumbletypeg and make willow whistles during springtime recesses.  Free time was devoted to exploring fields and woods and helping my grandfather with farm chores such as maple sugaring, milking and caring for the animals.  It was Gramp's dry Yankee humor and love of his rural environment and way of life which most influences my work.

Since I first started sculpting in 1972, my work has largely been created from old, abandoned farm machinery.  Each oddly-shaped part of a tired machine is to me a creature with its own personality.  My contribution to its pedigree is to develop this personality while adding a dash of Gramp's whimsy and understatement.

But a West Point education, a graduate degree in geology, two combat tours of duty in Vietnam and a stint as a program manager for General Electric introduced me to exciting ways in which the creative process can be enhanced by technology and self-reliance.  On any given day, you might see me in my studio working with a space-age plasma torch making realistic copper maple leaves or taking apart an eighty-year old manure spreader to make an iron cow.

I am comfortable with the continuum of time and my sense of roots and place.  In fact, stainless steel sculptures which I design with a computer and cut with a laser or water jet are often finished by hand with my grandfather's tools on a workbench built in 1838 by my great-great-great grandfather.  Someone visiting my studio once remarked about the bench, "That's where the magic comes from."  I think he was right.

Anyway, I hope the result is a successful blend of the old and the new.  It should stand on its own as a satisfying contemporary work which is at the same time reminiscent of an earlier, less complicated way of life.  If you enjoy a piece as much as I enjoyed creating it, I consider the work successful.

   Photo by George Robinson

All sculptures and designs illustrated on these web pages are copyrighted by Jack Chase and Birch Pond Sculpture.  Reproduction is prohibited by U.S. and international law without express written permission.