Bedrock Barnacle

A new order of land crustacean has attached itself to a patch of ledge in Marlboro, Vermont. The homeowners, being away, had no way to defend their property from the intrusion. I hope they develop a liking for the three-ton mollusk because prying it off would be a bit… of a job.

Fortunately, these old friends know enough to expect something a little out of whack whenever they ask for one of my dry stone works. They’re enough off-kilter themselves (in the best sense) to appreciate something different in their dooryard. So, when they asked for a sculpture on a promontory of bedrock, and then promptly left for Italy, I got busy building.

The bedrock site suggested something crenelated to contrast the glacier-smoothed rock face. Four fissures in the surface gave me a starting place to foot the work. Cantilevered courses allowed the legs to grow wide as they grew tall. The small pieces of quarried stone needed broad, natural-shaped slabs, placed intermittently, to help them knit together. The four, square-cornered legs expanded into an ovoid donut. When I ran out of stone I figured it was finished.

Most of my dry stone sculptures are planned out in advance of the day I start building. I usually make some kind of temporary device to guide the construction to it’s completed form. In the case of “Barnacle,” I let the process of building guide the shape. While still working within the boundaries of dry stone craft, I adopted an improvisational approach for the making of the piece. It’s sometimes best to get going, without knowing where to.

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