Dry Stone Art in Nature

Longevity self-validates. Just to have lasted decades in an occupation brings with it a certain degree of credibility. A reputation develops around what’s been done. The integrity of the stoneworker lies in their accumulated projects. As my own projects have piled up over the years, a question has grown in my mind about what exactly it is I’ve been trying to accomplish in my career. My record of achievement would be easier to read if I had chosen a single focus and stuck with it. As it is, the work has wandered all over the map. The further I’ve strayed from strict adherence to the the rules of dry stone law, the more the work has become a creative outlet for me, but less an example, to others, of dry stone’s highest standards. Am I a representative of conformity or an agent for change? That’s the puzzlement I encounter when I look back at the work I’ve done, and face with every new project that comes my way.

The question becomes a pressing one when it’s time to give a presentation about my work. What clear message do I have to offer an audience? They make the time to attend an evening event. The results of that hour spent should be well worth it for them, or else I’ve failed in my duty.

By the size of the crowd at last week’s presentation at the Springfield Town Library (90 people jammed into a space meant for 40) I could begin to believe that my work has some local credibility. The title of the slide talk was Dry Stone Art in Nature. I steered away from the practical attributes of stone construction and concentrated on its sublime aspects. In a darkened room, I don’t know if the things I’m saying have relevance, or interest, for the audience. For me, the presentation is a constant striving to share an understanding of something only I have experienced. It’s the personal made public, in the moment. I don’t always know exactly what I’ll be talking about until attempting to articulate it. In that respect, the presentation is an extension of my creative endeavors out in the field.

My thanks go out to the co-sponsors, the Springfield Town Library and the Springfield Garden Club. Also to Phoenix Books at Misty Valley. Elin coordinated the event and prepared the presentation, making my part a breeze.