Color Wheel: From Whitsett to Leiper’s Fork

Rachel Sager "Color Wheel" mosaic

February 2012

14″h x 11″w

Materials: Bituminous coal, coke, slag, sandstone, TN peach stone, brick, grinder wheel, metal die, 24-karat gold

Artist statement

This piece represents a great example of what I like to call The Power of Place. Whitsett, Pennsylvania, a tiny patch town on the banks of my native Youghiogheny River, was once a booming coal center. Now it sits in relative obscurity and is visited today mostly by those who like to walk the former railroad track turned bike path. This familiar place is wrapped in memories for me, so foraging for material here was very natural.

Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee is a thriving rural community on the outskirts of Nashville. Having spent some enjoyable time there in the last few years, you can imagine my excitement when I discovered the area’s beautiful peach stone—a geologic beauty which reveals itself in hundreds of different shades of red.

Aside from my own interest in connecting them by gathering native materials from each for this mosaic, these two places have little in common. Well, I guess you could say they have me in common. The Whitsett half of Color Wheel starts at the bottom with an absence of color (black) that gradually turns to grays and browns in the form of coal, coke, and slag—deserted leavings of post industry. The Leiper’s Fork half finishes through the top with the subtle peach stone shadings. This piece will connect these two special places in my mind forever.