Spending time in a familiar place. Home sweet home ❤
Made my annual appearance at the best festival in Texas. The Llano Earth Art Fest or LEAF for short. This years festival was quite the experience. Each year its grown in size and amplitude. Its fun seeing folks that I’ve come to know over the last 3 years. Many locals treat us “rock stars” just as such. Abundant kindness and hospitality. Each year the small town of Llano opens their hearts and puts on a family oriented festival for thousands. It’s all about bringing artists and the community together for a few days. Everyone smiles and seems to be part of this invisible energy that simply opens hearts and minds in an astounding way. This year I walked away with the experience of making many new friends and a further fondness to return again next year.
Started my year off in a wintry creek…imagine that. Worked hard on two balances. The first one was an utter train wreck. Ugly balance, poor location, utter frustration. I wasn’t sure the second one was going to happen. Took a long time to finally come to fruition. Super cool topper on a small, wobbly spine. Cold hands and numb feet from sitting in position for far too long (hours). Had to regroup, clear my mind and focus on the design that I set in motion. I kept telling myself it was going to happen. Again coming down to fading daylight. If no photos happened I was going to be cool with it. I just wanted to see it completed with my own eyes. Contemplation as to possibly changing the topper filled my head many times. It helps to be unbelievably stubborn in this game. Proper way to start the new year! even managed a few photos 🙂
So I have this wind chime located on my front deck. It’s hefty and actually sounds more like a cowbell than a typical dainty wind chime. It was purchased on a trip to Colorado lifetimes ago. It doesn’t ring too often since it takes a rather robust wind to even get it swinging. It’s become a gauge to help me decide when it’s favorable conditions for stone balancing. Usually if the chime is ringing, its time to stay home. Yesterday as I contemplated my work day, I heard it dinging away… SHIT!!! Experience tells me that it’s probably not worth the effort to head out, but my mind was telling me otherwise. Being a frugal, conservationist type person, I opted to save the atmosphere and not burn gas driving to a spot on such a low probability day. Instead, I packed my kit and hoofed it to the old ski slopes in my neighborhood. I spent a few frustratingly productive hours balancing and enjoying the outdoors. Fate put a really interesting topper in my hands and I even managed to create 3 variations with it. On the third collapse, it broke in half putting an end to my efforts and sent me home to repair my driveway erosion from the recent “flooding”. Next time I hear the Colorado chime ringing, I may just reevaluate my actions 🙂
I contemplated the current conditions while staring out the front door. The trees were swaying which is usually a sign not to head to the creek. On top of that recent rains most likely brought the creek to a near unworkable level. To go or not to go? Go of course… with low expectations. The 3 minute drive had me looking at a murky, angry creek. It was up. Much higher and there would be no way of finding stones through the swift, muddy waters. Fortunately there were a few spots still reachable for finding a few rocks to work with. Slim pickings as far as what the norm would be. Adding a stiff wind to the equation and it made for a challenging afternoon. Although a challenge I found a few and set to work in the shallows atop a large flat rock. It took a while to gauge the wind and figure possibilities or more so, probabilities. My first inception didn’t appeal to me much. I shot a few photos, but thought it looked very basic and with horrible proportions. I disassembled the first build to improve the visual appeal. The end results were far more pleasing than I thought conditions suggested. My thoughts were substantiated by the life cycle of my second build. It lasted about 1 minute and produced 3 photos. When it toppled the top rock cracked into two pieces indicating that my time with these stones had run its course. Most of all it was time well spent thinking, studying and learning. No matter how much experience one has, learning never ceases.
I built this little balance in Deschambault, Quebec Canada in June while there for the art exhibition – Dur comme d’la roche. I was fortunate to experience this event put on by the I documented it through photography as well as video. I downloaded all the images and data upon returning home to the USA and kinda forgot about it. Fortunately I stumbled across it recently…Put together this short piece together to highlight the ephemeral life of a stone balance along the St. Lawrence River or anywhere for that matter. The precarious ones usually don’t last very long, often succumbing to slight wind. I was fortunate to spend a few hours with this creation before its was gone forever 🙂
Press from the event:
Revisited an old favorite spot today. Round here, it was the first day of “buck deer season”… figured the odds of getting shot wandering a remote creek were highly probable, so I went to a location that I figured to be safe(r) and set to work. Kinda surprised to find some ice on the creek. Once my hands were in for a WHile, I was educated to the fact of how the ice had formed. I’ve been foregoing the rubber gloves as much as possible in favor of dexterity and well…basically procrastination. I know there’ll be plenty of days where going raw pawed won’t be as tolerable.
This is the Barronvale covered bridge in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. A beautiful spot visited by many. I’ve posted a few balance photos from here before (see comments). It’s a beautiful creek. Home to some awesome stones, quite unique in shapes and state of polish. If you’re ever in the area. Stop and check this place out. Particularly upstream from the covered bridge. Pick up a few stones…see what you come up with ❤