The Abandoned Marble Quarry
Do you ever have those moments where you are reminded; Why you do what you do and why you push for what your passion is? Sometimes it comes from hard work and when you see your final results, it all makes sense why you completed the task. Then sometimes it comes in moments of quietness and one persons passion inspires your own and you are renewed to continue pursuing your dream…
I recently attended a Local First Arizona event at the University of Arizona Museum of Art and was overwhelmed by the collections. Room after room of beautiful works of art, some to make you smile, some to intrigue and some that show history with the stroke of a brush. My son and Manufacturing Tech, Aric, attended with me and together we walked through each room and discussed the pieces on display. So many amazing depictions to look at, to experience and ponder over. For two hours we soaked it all in. It was interesting to see what styles appealed to him and what pieces I enjoyed.
Then on the top floor, along a stretch of wall, we both came upon a piece that stopped us in our tracks. We were pretty much oblivious to the other guests, too wrapped up in our own conversation to see if anyone else had frozen where we did. It wasn’t the brightest painting or the most creative sculpture. In fact, in was an averagely sized photograph that seized our attention and brought on a moment of quietness.
Abandoned Marble Quarry, Chiricahua Mountains by Jay Dusard.
A pretty straight-forward title and yet, to us, there was nothing straight-forward about it. The ragged lines of mineral veining exposed to the light after eons after creation. The shadows cast by scrub brush trying to find a root hold on the carved remains of the hillside. The etch and stain on the stone by years of weathering that turned beautiful into broken.
The heart of the mountain exposed, plundered and then left to fragment in the elements.
When I see this, I don’t just see the effects of mining. I also see the story behind it. Most stone mines can produce up to 73% waste in their processes. The large blocks that they remove can fracture, be of inferior grade or no longer have market value and are disposed of. Trashed. Crushed. Abandoned. This beautiful picture made me stop and see the results of producing scrap. They probably harvested tons of viable blocks, but knowing the statistics never a higher percentage of success to waste. I wonder if stone mining was 100% successful, with zero waste, would that outcome then outweigh the effects. Would the struggle of the environment to regain its land seem less distressing?
I’m curious as to what captured the Artist’s attention… was it the shadows playing on the many angles? Was it the obvious stains of age, like wrinkles on the face of a mother who has worked hard her whole life? Or was it the story behind the face that made him appreciate the small, weedy plants taking back what was once their hillside?
To me this picture is haunting, beautiful and poignant. The Artist’s passion has renewed the pursuit for my dream, my companies mission; to keep the harvested stone from ending up in the trash. To give purpose to the waste. It might not be able to spend its life as a mountain anymore, but at least it isn’t resigned to be garbage.
I encourage you to visit the University of Arizona Museum of Art and discover the story behind the art.
University of Arizona Museum of Art
1031 N. Olive Rd
Tucson, AZ 85721
Local First Members enjoying the U of A Museum of Art
By Local First Intern, Alexis Andrews 2016
Abandoned Marble Quarry, Chiricahua Mountains
By Jay Dusard 2012
The Tia Collection