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Berkeley artist dies after long illness

Daily Planet staff
Tuesday November 14, 2000

Phyllis (Meagan) Metal, who contributed to the Berkeley community during the many years she lived here, died Friday. She was 82 years old.  

Since 1998, Ms. Metal had been struggling with debilitating dementia caused by multiple small strokes that eventually led to her death. 

Best known for her strong and unusual ceramics, she was also a gifted painter, sculptor, mosaicist and fiber artist.  

Her one-woman painting exhibit graced the walls of the Westside Bakery and Café during the winter of 1991-92.  

In the 1960s her mosaics were frequently featured at the Richmond Arts Center where she taught with her then husband, sculptor, Martin Metal.  

In the 1970s and ’80s her fiber arts were displayed at Kasuri Dye Works and her ceramics at the Potters’ Studio.  

In any medium she chose to explore, she found some new and surprising twist, distinctively blending beauty, humor, elegance and the grotesque.  

In addition to her artistic contributions, her work as a grief and crisis counselor and as an advocate for the rights of Native Americans, women and prisoners added to her value in our community, as did her regular political columns in the “Sonoma Free Press.”  

As both artist and activist, Ms. Metal was featured in the 1987 documentary film “Acting Our Age,” still included in Women’s Studies and Gerontology curricula at universities across the country.  

Having grown up on a ranch in Wyoming, Ms. Metal wrote eloquently and poetically about her life among the Wind River Mountains and about her family.  

One of these pieces was included in the award-winning anthology, “Leaning Into the Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West,” about which the “Bloomsbury Review” wrote: “The variety of language, voice, and perspective makes this work addictive...”  

She is survived by her four daughters, Elizabeth Claman, Meta Metal, Maurya Metal, Mercedes Metal, and her grand daughter and great grand daughter, Rebekah and Francesca Eller.