Thursday, March 28, 2019

Conflicting Elements.

One stone, just one, in an entire wall of stones of similar material, has begun to crumble and break up into gravel.
My hands ask the question. Which is it that causes such things to happen.
Is it the drying of sun, or the dampness (from the lack of sunlight) that causes the decomposition?
The universal question is...
Is it the light or the darkness that creates the shadow? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Outside In

Geode To A Wall

Your every stone
A crystalline
Of Self - Contained

Your inner circle
A patterned cave
Of Self - Enclosed

Your outer sides
A modesty
Of Masked -Wrapped

Your every shape
A mirroring
Of star-structured

Your inner verse
A cloistered 
Super nova’d

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Upside Down and Inside Out

Thinking about gravity, and how when it’s working best, seems not to be there .

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Wall to Ceiling

In referring to Sean Donnelley's latest creation, Eric Landman said "He's turned the dry stone world upside down!"

Having been given a Chalmers Arts Fellowship grant through the Ontario Arts Council grant to allow him to be able explore and execute some of his design ideas over the next year (with stones he will be creatively 'reassembling' in his workshop) Sean has indeed opened up a whole new dimension.

And what better man for the job? He's young and talented and has been pushing the boundaries of the craft already with his many inspiring walling projects. See The Wave

I went to visit Sean and see the upside-down wall yesterday and was suitably impressed. I had a good look at it from top to bottom. 

It has all the correct proportions and features of a proper dry laid wall, with the added feature of it being carefully battered and built in reverse, to create a wonderful feeling of whimsy and irony.

I'm excited about what Sean will come up with next. 

Sean is a professional certified instructor and has an advanced standing with the Dry Stone Wall Association of GB DSWAGB . Have a look at his website  sdstone 

I'm thinking building upside-down may well be the jumping off point for creating all sorts of new and unusual structures of stone. 

I think I'll explore some of the possibilities tomorrow.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Rolling Dog.

Yesterday Farley and I returned to see the dry stone arch we built at Mount Pleasant, Ontario, fourteen years ago. He had never seen it.

Farley was so knocked out by the stone arch that he fell down and rolled around in the snow.

The week before the students and I built it, we were busy gathering rocks from the hilly farm property and were pretty excited about doing one of the first public arch installations in Ontario. 

Back then, July 14, 2005, to be exact, the morning before the weekend we built it, I remember reading the headline in the Globe and Mail - 


I was delighted and a little bit surprised that the Toronto paper was covering the event. 

Of course, I soon realized it was referring to those 'other' stones who had arrived to practice somewhere around Mount Pleasant and Davisville in Toronto for their upcoming 2005 North American tour

Anyway, this week I read those 'rolling' stones will roll in to North America again for another big tour in 2019. Unfortunately they won't perform in Canada this time.

I am pleased to say the famous stones in our arch never left Canada, nor did any of them roll down from their Mount Pleasant perch. The rocks we grouped together there to form the arch, those years ago, are still continuing to put on a good performance. 

It's kind of good to know that both rock groups are aging so well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Surface now-ness

I may separate stone in different ways, but no matter which way I split it, the two new faces, which having been invisible before, (with particles in no particular relation to each other, or having any correlation, while within) now become visibly connected. At the splitting of time, two new surfaces suddenly appear. 
With every such opening, the chronology appears different but the ‘now’ remains the same. 
It is always a mirror image of itself.

Monday, March 4, 2019


Stones have been laid upon stones since the beginning of time. We see evidence of this in every land and continent. These ancient stone structures only last because they are made of stone, a material more impervious to change than any other readily found substance on earth. The observance of important dates and events in the heavens are measured and anticipated because of a most ancient reliance on this unchanging nature of stone. We would do well to recognize this archaic association and learn to appreciate the continual relationship between the seasons and man made stone structures of the past.

Our perspective, our well being, our inspiration and hope ‘hinges’ upon our being able to perceive change. The very change that stones resist, allows us to see ‘difference of time’ for what that it really is. Civilizations have erected austere and wonderful monuments, stone edifices elevating the concept of ‘change’ to that which is celebrated, rather than feared. The megalithic ‘standing stones’ of Britain and Ireland are ‘understandable’, if only for this reason. As we contemplate the jutting of large stones silhouetted in some lonely place, we become aware of the distance that change alone has put between who we are and who we were, not just as individuals but collectively. It is not at all incongruous to consider that, apart from change, everything else about us has stayed the same.

It is this same predictability, this equivalent ‘sameness’, that makes it self- evident that wherever there are stones, there will be people who will align them together into structures, and for no apparent reason. Who has not at some time, while wandering through the countryside, discovered an interesting man made configuration of stones. Upon discovering such an ordered pile of stones resting ‘immobile’, one upon another, we ourselves may be inexplicably ‘moved’. Though our experience is personal, there is a experimental knowing, which is universal and suggests a uniquely common identity. The single enduring property of those monuments of stone, though motionlessness and seemingly inert, becomes the catalyst for a variety of creative human responses. Our shared humanity seems somehow locked in the past; a past of stone. We realize that we are not only ‘here and now’, but we are all so very far away, and very taken back, by time.

Leviathan bones, lost relics, latent fossils tell very little of the story. It is the carefully stacked stones themselves that speak volumes to the human psyche. They read us like an open book. These hard lifeless(?) stones tell us we have been here before, because we are here now. And by the hardness of reason, we realize there is very little distinction. It is as though we have discovered our own unique remnants in some great prehistoric Thesaurus. Contained within this revelation is the possibility that we are all actually on the same page! Not only are we having ‘our present’, but we also " had ‘archaic’ and ‘dated’ as well ", thus closing the distance between preceding and proceeding moments of time in space.
Similar to Roget’s original intentions for ordering words by definition, rather than alphabetically, our propensity to move (and be moved by) stones in their various configurations and constructions, defines who we are. The grouping experience is merely the making of constructive connections between like concepts. Rather than feebly clutching to the randomness of our surroundings, we are recognizing the solid associations these stones provide.

Stone configurations act as our GPS receiver, to help us find our location, in much the same way they have always done throughout the ages. Our ancestors erected monumental landmarks to connect the dots for us. They laboriously drafted detailed charts of the stars in the night sky, quarried, shaped and maneuvered huge stones into position, for us to know, not so much where we are, but who we are. The kind of effort and extravagance historically distant peoples infused into their self-imposed undertakings in stone, may seem completely illogical to us now, locked in our technological , chronological universe, but the importance of what they left behind, though very much a mystery, is surely not wasted. The significance lies in how connected we still are to stones, not how old the structures are or even how on earth they were made. And it doesn’t matter much if they are enormous ancient landmarks or comparatively recent structures of free standing stone, our response as human beings is fundamentally the same. It seems that something profoundly important 'hinges' on our being able to understand why this happens.

Friday, March 1, 2019

To choose to carry on

How could I choose to leave even one behind, from such a unique collection of compelling emblems of earth, which against all odds, my eye alone only observed, causing me to stoop down in my journeys, to pluck them individually from obscurity? Shall I now agree to stoop to some impoverished regulatory compliance to abandon them, rather than dutifully transport them, all together in my carry-on, to a new honoured place in another kingdom far far away?