Sean Adcock has been showing “Stone Rising” to groups of stone enthusiasts in the UK. He tells me that of all the work featured in the video, Archer Pavilion elicits the strongest reaction. I’ve been reading “Stones of Rimini” by Adrian Stokes. He writes, “Poets possess the insight with which to re-create subjectively the unconscious fantasies that are general.” His words are the perfect summation of why works of art fascinate.
To continue with Sean’s questions about the making of Archer’s Pavilion I’d like to explore its inspiration for a moment. Looking back, I remember being shown a list of stone walling words and terms compiled by Nick Aitkin, a Scottish waller friend. The word “knapper” was defined as a person assigned to break large stone into small for rural road building. When I looked further into the term I found it also applied to someone who shaped arrowheads from flint. That got me looking at the history of arrows and medieval warfare. Archers on a campaign would bivouac for the night in canvas tents with conical roofs. Thousands of them would be set up on an open plain. It was words that led me to imagine what a stone tent would look like standing in a field.
To review what constituted the “technical bits” that went into the making of Archers Pavilion I must conjure up my old dump truck. The frame of the dump bed was made of box steel channel. For the inventive mind, that meant I had a vise for cold bending 5/8” reinforcing rod on site. I fashioned a 20’ length of steel into the profile I wished the pavilion to take and then copied it six times, bending each profile to match the first. Those I wired to two circles of steel rod that defined the bottom and top rims of what was to be the tent side-walls. With the seven profile rods meeting at the middle top I had the outline of the exterior of the shape I wanted to make. The inside shape, or hollow, was defined by pieces of string pulled from near the top, to a 5’ diameter circle on the ground, forming a conical interior space when the piece was completed.