“Work is the key to creative growth of mind.”
-Eliel Saarinen

Dan SnowMy art is created by the act of making. Art making is the active process applied to a desire that produces a work of art. Desire to realize a work of art engages the imagination. Ideas are tested in the manipulation of materials. Labor and craft bring a work of art into being. Experience develops the process that produces results. In the perpetual practice of toil, feelings become lucid, desires take shape, structure becomes art.

An environmental artwork of dry stone has no utilitarian value. It does, however, require the same care and craftsmanship in construction as does a well-built dry stone wall. Whether in an art piece or wall, every choice is the maker’s own. Each stone laid forms a bed for the next layer to rest upon. The first course of stone in a construction is called the “foundation” when in fact every course is a foundation for what’s to come.  Constructing good fits with neighbor stones creates the sturdy platform that will make subsequent work fall into place with ease. Working with dry stone is to prepare for the next moment.

Contained in a dry stone construction are all the moments that created it. They remain there like hidden messages slipped between the stones as they were placed. The finished piece is defined by the spaces between the stones as much as it is by the stones themselves.

The desires that initiate a piece of work in dry stone, and the processes that take it from excavation, through construction, to completion, hang over the work like decaying fumes until, eventually, they dissipate. What remains becomes an open receptacle for dreams to fall into. A mass of rock becomes fertile ground for myth to grow. It begins to open itself to interpretation. Into opportunity pours possibility. Out of possibility a selection is made and an ensemble created. Impressions, reflections, emotions, recollections, and dreams all mix and match until they settle into the piece, fill all the cracks, and infuse the mass with myth.

The complete inspiration for a work is not known until long after it’s been made. The experiences between the time it’s made, and when it is looked back upon, morph into a creative intelligence that imbues the object with the power of prescience. It’s as though it came into being when it did in order to be there in the future to act as a repository for the memory of new experiences.

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