In Our Own Words Exhibit at HandMade In America

April 24, 2012




[uhn-fet-er] To let loose, to liberate, to set free; Not limited by rules or any other controlling influence



I hear this word in the media often these days. “Unfettered markets,” “freedom from government interference,” and “freedom from taxes.” Unfettered equated with “freedom,” which is a sacred concept in our country.


Everyone wants to be “unfettered.” But freedom can have negative connotations as well. In a civilized society, everything and everyone are intertwined; what you see as your freedom can have important consequences for someone else’s freedom. An imbalance of power can have severe economic and social consequences. Who wins and who loses when there is an imbalance of power? Having more power should give us more control, thus more freedom.


Ironically, striving for power can be a form of fettering. In this sculpture, the Kind and Queen chess pieces are isolated and penned in by their fear of “outsiders” “stealing” what they believe to be “theirs.” It can take an enormous amount of energy to attain and keep power. The need for control can be detrimental if we put he material world about what is good for society as a whole.


The Pawns appear to lead a more colorful and community-oriented life and there are no fences to feel them in. But are they unfettered? It seems that the TV is absorbing all of their attention.


The mass media is a double-edged sword. It has brought us instant information and entertainment but also mass distraction. The omnipresence of mass media can skew our perspective and blind us to a lack of accurate information or absence of our freedoms. It robs all of us of the contributions that a fully engaged citizenry bring us and it can lead to a paucity of ideas.


Words are powerful. Words can be capricious. They can illuminate or they can mask the speaker’s intent. They can have diametrically opposed meanings depending on the subject, the person’s perspective or their political leanings. Sometimes the repetition of a word can alter its meaning or accuracy.


To fully understand “Unfettered,” the word and my piece, please view it from all perspectives.


Slate, shell casings, lamp parts, dye, patina, gold leaf, copper, brass, blister maple, quilted ash, LED light, other recycled and “found” objects

Footprint: 12” x 16”  Overall size: 20” x 12” 14


Caryl Brt



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