One of the things that makes a Zachmann piece so unique is the use of found metal. In Jeff’s pieces, found metal juxtaposes interestingly with the clean lines of stainless steel to create an internal dialogue between old and new. The depth a piece or two of found metal adds to his work is as necessary as the motor to the finished product. Imagine a piece without found metal: it would seem almost clinical in comparison. Carl’s pieces rely on found metal to an even greater extent, exploring America’s industrial background through the use of the original materials. His archeologist’s eye is trained to see the beauty in the used and forgotten.
But why the interest in what most people disregard as scraps? Jeff says the metal that comes to him already beat up and with a past of its own seems more alive than the newer, cleaner metal he uses to create his frameworks. The used metal has ready-made focal points in the scrapes, rust, and patina that cover its surface. Since the metal that Jeff and Carl use comes from a variety of places- scrapyards, the side of the highway, friends- it can be fun to try to guess what its history might be. Often it brings Jeff back to his childhood visiting his uncle’s farm, far from a hardware store. To him, reusing metal that has had a previous life is the ultimate in frugality and resourcefulness. It gives the metal a new purpose. Rather than rusting away somewhere, it is incorporated into a piece of art that gives it a new voice. What the metal says to Jeff echoes what his Father used to say to him: Everything there is, somebody made- and you have the option to make it, too. You just have to decide if you want to.