Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Walls Have Fingers

In John Ruskin's extensive book 'The Stones of Venice' which I'm presently reading, I was interested to come across a chapter he wrote on walls, which includes a introductory reference to them having 'fingers'.

Our first business, then, is with the Wall, and to find out wherein
lies (it's) true excellence ....A wall has no business to be dead. It ought to
have members in its make, and purposes in its existence, like an
organized creature, and to answer its ends in a living and energetic
way; and it is only when we do not choose to put any strength nor
organization into it, that it offends us by its deadness. Every wall
ought to be a "sweet and lovely wall." I do not care about its having
ears; but, for instruction and exhortation, I would often have it to
"hold up its fingers."

A wall, in a way, mirrors the means by which it has been built.

If it is constructed mechanically with bobcats, back-hoes, industrial power-tools, cranes, manufactured blocks, and guillotined or concrete-based stone products, it will reflect these aspects and appear to be 'dead'.

If, however, it is constructed carefully, with human hands, there will be life to it.

Surely as wallers, this is what we are looking for.

And surely, if we are building and thinking with them, they will be reflected in our 'handiwork'.

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