Dorsky Museum, UNDERCURRENTS "Orphan Bricks : the River as Metaphor"
ORPHAN BRICKS for “UNDERCURRENTS: The River as Metaphor”
Dorsky Museum of Art Hudson Valley Artists 2017 submission
The Hudson River shoreline in nearby Glasco, NY contains a quiet history of the area’s once legendary brickyards from the mid-1800s through the Great Depression. A graveyard of eroded bricks lays in shallow water of the river, the discards of these manufacturing plants during their economic boom.
Made from the clay of the riverbed and formed by the hands of new immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Germany, the bricks contain the names of the wealthy brickyard owners – Mayone, Washburn, Hutton – names which were well known in the area to local households of every economic strata at the time. Now, they are almost forgotten.
Dumped in the river, these bricks were rejected because they were imperfect, didn’t fit the mold fully or were improperly cured. They couldn’t be used in newly constructed homes and buildings because they didn’t fit the established standard. Each is unique due to their imperfection and aided by the slow erosion of the river's tide have gently washed over their faces.
They became known as orphan bricks.
These bricks can be found there today.