Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fragile Rock and Hand Puppets.



So let's have a show of hands. Who here likes dry stone puppets ?

While dry stone walling is certainly a number of important respectable things it can also be a very whimsical thing. I have been asked to add some more walls this week to the dry stone ruins I designed for a client and actually built last year here in California. Along with two helpers Patrick Callon and Dean Mclellan we created a lovely enclosed space of stacked stone to look like a kind of abandoned dry stone stage coach house.

No one has ever seen a dry stone stage coach house and there are certainly no pictures of such a structure on Google. It is purely fanciful and perhaps more in the realm of an imaginative folly than a serious reproduction of any historic building. It almost goes without saying that this type of work is really fun and yet in its celebration of a legitimate and traditional method of construction it seems completely appropriate.

The walls are made of a Bouquet Canyon schist stone and New Mexico red sandstone. It is a delight to work with these materials. The red sandstone shapes nicely with a hammer and chisel and you can make nice blocky cornerstones with it. The schist is nice and flat and stacks well. The schist however stratifies along the bedding plane in thin slabs and fractures badly and can only to be used in the shapes and sizes it comes in. It is a stone, without a sense of humour, so when you work with it you have to be careful, because you cant make 'faces'. Not even that joke breaks it up.

So anyway, that's what made me start thinking about whimsy. My hands seemed to enjoy working on this dry stone ruins partly because it is not like work at all, but play. They are pleased to be the puppets or the jesters and create something that looks so good now and will give pleasure for years to come to anyone who stumbles upon this lovely enclosed dry stone space nestled here in the redwood forrest on the California coast. I had my helper Jerry take this picture for the blog entry today. My hands were thinking this would be a cool thing and it is hoped that it gives some the followers of this daily walling blog a chuckle. We do thank you for your comments and feedback.

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