Friday, January 22, 2010

Hands On Holiday

The stones on the beach in Ventura will be the building material for an informal dry stone competition on Friday. The contestants will be a mixed assembly of various wallers who have been attending the International Stonefoundation Symposium here in Ventura California. The Symposium is winding down with the last day being devoted to the annual 'Olithic Events' as Tomas Lipps, director of the Stonefoundation, calls them.
The stones are very rounded but most of them have shapes that are calling out for them to be picked up and balanced or used in some creative artistic way. Some of us will discover how well they can be made into a dry stone wall. (Though the weather is calling for rain all day Friday and any walls that are made will definitely be a wet ones)
The stones are not huge. They are well within the the range of one-to-two-handers. ( Not large two person 'four-handers') They are worn smooth and have fleshy colour and quality to them. They are easy to pick up and their smoothness makes them kind on the hands.
Everything about this rounded sandstone material is attractive. My hands will enjoy a holiday from working with the rough jagged sandstone of last week's workshop, as they now find ways to slide and fit these beauties into the form of a temporary structure. Whatever we make will not have to be something that has to last. This is not the criteria for this to be a worthwhile walling event. Besides getting the exercise and practice there will be a great opportunity for the hands to do some spacial thinking. It looks like there are a number of styles one could experiment with and all the hand data can be useful for future walling problem solving.
Since there is a great variety of very similar almost modular shapes, the decision making will be a kind of modular progress as both the hand coordination and stone cooperation improves. Hopefully there will be a 'meshing' of the two and very little 'mashing'.

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