Posts in Nature
Self-Archeology in a Stone Environment

The most enjoyable takeaway from examining a wall that has remained true is a validation of the beliefs held while bringing it into being. Dry stone walling is about action in the moment but the results take a while to be proven out. The labor of building is lightened by seeing how honest effort ultimately endures.

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Dowsing for Genesis

Basically, wallers are spare-parts jobbers. The loose pieces of indigenous stone they collect and parcel out are really nothing more than the duft of earth’s crowning mantle. In rare cases, bedrock, stone’s “birthmother”, is present on a building site and can come into play as a defining element of a dry stone design.

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Mother Earth Asks Dr. Stonework

Having landscaping and stonework done can be a geophysical boost to Earth’s well being in the long run but it’s not without short-term costs. Before the shovel goes in, here are some FAQs for a planet considering a surgical procedure.

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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.

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2017 Stone Projects and Art Travels

The 2017 work year was a variety-pack of projects and travels bringing rocks and people together. Projects from 2017 now lie nestled in snow, while projects for 2018 are already underway.

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Diamond Mines

Environmental artworks in the public domain can quickly fall into the realm of personal legend. One of the best qualities of art in the outdoors is its ability to be endlessly personalized. Each new viewer makes it their own and every return visitor reestablishes their claim to it.

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Art Above the Arctic

A week on Sørvær in Northern Norway kept me immersed in the land and enveloped by the sea. The atmosphere of this island among islands is reigned by the sky above and waters below. Combined, they create an undeniably powerful influence. My moods changed at the whim of the weather. Even though I’ve spent my adult life working outdoors I’m unconditioned to the reality of light reflected from a vast and shifting water surface, or, tides streaming in and out all around. Grasping the totality of the archipelago's grand and sweeping vistas was a heady experience.

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Something from Nothing

A recent artist residency at AARK in Finland’s western archipelago allowed me the freedom to make something from nothing. There were no tools at hand and none of the materials I’ve grown accustomed to for making artworks. The islands were swept clean of loose stone by the last ice age, leaving a landscape of bedrock, worn smooth. Enough soil caught in low pockets to start the growth of the forest that now thrives there. It was in that birch and evergreen forest that I found my moss muse.

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The Stone Hollow

Environmental art serves a wider community. It can prosper plants and animals as well as humans. Art making in nature stirs the pot of local ingredients, recombining elements in ways previously untested. Wild things are opportunists; it’s programed into their DNA for survival. When something new appears in the landscape, ecologies respond. An environmental art work is breeding ground for creative adaptation. Its ultimate use is left up to the invention of its inhabitants.

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Montshire Museum Raindrops

A raindrop splashing on still water ripples the surface with expanding wave rings that grow in number as they diminish in height. From the purity of the physics involved comes a simple beauty. Liquid in motion is mesmerizing to watch because it’s constantly changing while remaining the same. For the upcoming project at Montshire Museum I will petrify an instant in the life of two raindrops.

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Tarbat Peninsula

Unlike the rugged upland landscape typically associated with the Highlands, the Tarbat is a low-lying peninsula of rolling ground that was, until recently by geologic time, a sandy sea bed. The rich dark soil supports extensive sheep pasturing, plus, oilseed rape, potato and barley production. Fields are outlined in dry stone walls (dry stane dykes) constructed from sandstone blocks lifted from the ancient bedrock found just under the soil in many parts of the Tarbat.

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Bench Season

It’s a good time of year to tackle the smaller projects. Trenching by hand isn’t so bad if the shovel work can get done in the cool of the morning. A bench can be assembled with a minimum of loader travel across a spongy lawn. This month I’ve realized two designs. Both are basic, three-stone constructions but with personalities all their own. One relies on interlocking opposites, while the other counts on monolithic mass, to stand and stay put.

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Swept up in Stone

The autumn 2014 issue of Garden Design magazine is a beauty to behold. In its newly re-conceived subscription-only, advertisement-free format, the magazine is like a coffee table book with sumptuous photographs on every page. My thanks go out to the Garden Design staff for including my work alongside that of many talented artisans, to Lindsey for a clear and compelling article, and to Gemma and Andy for the truly splendid photography.

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English Harbour Arts Centre Stone Art Workshop

The English Harbour fog machine has been churning out invisibility for a solid 24 hours. Before I arrived here a week ago the southwest wind that funnels moisture off Trinity Bay into the land bowl above the harbor had kept the village cloaked in a cotton wool shroud for fourteen days. Fortunately, the recently concluded environmental art workshop maintained blue skies above for each and every one of its five days. There were long-distance views in every direction from the headlands where the six participants worked on their dry stone installation.

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Woody Point Workshop

Last evening the atmosphere softened to dusty rose across the far horizon. An osprey wheeled its way around the shoreline heading across Green Bay toward an incandescent object rising from the shimmering surface of the sea. Two hours earlier, I was at Ken Tuach’s stone yard wrapping up a day of DSWA examination. E and I then made a mad dash from western Newfoundland to the Baie Verte Peninsula just in time to glimpse the majestic iceberg across the water before the darkness descended.

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Environmental Art & Dry Stone Walling Workshop Newfoundland Summer 2014

The purpose of the workshop is to discover terrestrial habitats, artifacts, microcosms and vistas that excite curiosity and wonder about a place, identify existing order and disorder for the purpose of exploring ways art can be an evolutionary partner with the environment, and to seek out conditions conducive to the development of creative interrelationships with the natural world. The workshop will take a hands-on approach to making art that springs from, and is absorbed by, its surroundings.
DATE: Sunday July 27 - Thursday July 31, 2014. Participants interested in a 2-day workshop, are welcome to join in on the Wednesday/Thursday of the 5-day workshop.
LOCATION: English Harbour Arts Centre, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada.

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Time by the Seasons

At daybreak on March 7th Mount Monadnock appears on the horizon in bold silhouette.  Soon after, the sun’s corona sets the mountain top ablaze. On only two days a year am I able to witness this phenomena from my home. The next time will be in October as the sun inches south along the horizon line past its date with the autumnal equinox. The speed of the sun’s rising and the intensity of it burning is shocking when viewed against Monadnock’s dark outline. I feel like I’m witnessing a cataclysmic event when the fringe of sky above the mountain erupts in a dome of molten yellow light. For an instant, I’m overtaken by the primordial fear that my earth is being consumed by fire. Soon after, the sun’s benevolent form reestablishes itself and takes its familiar place in the morning sky.

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