Fire Circle Square

The gem industry has very successfully paired stone types with general topics of personal interest. Zodiac signs and milestone life-events are examples of gems being assigned by association to gift giving opportunities. The phrase, “A diamond is forever”, first appeared in a De Beers Mines ad in 1948 connecting the gem to wedding engagement.

Less exotic stones find their way into our hearts without coercion. The difference in stones pocketed by two individuals walking along the same stretch of pebble beach testifies to the existence of personal affinities toward stone.

It’s been suggested that our attraction to shiny objects comes from a deep human history of seeking out water sources. The play of light on the surface of water is akin to the reflective qualities found in stones. One type of stone that pops up in the Vermont landscape also “pops out” to the eye due to its brightness. Quartz is folded into the geology of the state and quite often appears as large boulders, along with a multitude of other stone types, that were scattered around at the end of the last ice age. The availability of milky quartz boulders on the property, and my client’s proclaimed fondness for them, made the stone a natural choice to begin a conversation about a functional art piece.

The design and layout of Fire Circle Square highlights quartz boulders by turning a collection of them into a fireplace and four adjacent perches. After positioning the stones, I carved depressions into them to create smooth sitting places. The fireplace stones were also cut, ground and polished, and then assembled into a plinth to hold a steel fire bowl. Between the plinth and seats I laid a floor with flagstone from a local quarry. The location of the piece was chosen to take advantage of a preexisting wall corner and a western overlook facing the mountain-ridged horizon.