The Tarriance Sculpture - Setting a Stone Boulder

When I was a youngster I imagined there was an inexhaustible supply of people older than myself doing interesting and exciting things. With the passing of years I learned that their numbers must sadly, but quite naturally, dwindle. What I hadn’t perceived until recently is that all I have to do to find a growing crowd of industrious individuals doing all sorts of creative things is to just turn and look in the opposite direction.

I’m delighted by this new-found perspective which has been amplified this past week by my being in Bend, Oregon. The city of 80,000 has doubled its population in the past 20 years. The increase is due in large measure by the influx of people like Jeff Fairfield and his wife Samantha. Both Maine natives, they moved to the Bend area 6 years ago to begin their careers building dry stone walls and teaching horseback riding.

Jeff’s joining me on the Tarriance at COCC this week got the project off to a great start. After taking delivery on 15 tons of stone we made full-scale, foam board, mock-ups of the individual pieces. With them I could quickly try out different granite slab and basalt boulder arrangements.

The third trial set-up was my favorite. By numbering and cataloging the pieces as to their placement in the structure, we began building the sculpture. Each stone is drilled and pinned in compliance with codes related to the seismic activity common in the region.

The crowning glory came on Saturday morning when we managed to set the 4-ton river boulder.