Fog Remnant Stone

limestone on an elm base

 

I am compelled by stones.  I find them in fields, along river banks, on mountain slopes, and in ocean waters—or, in rare but amazing cases, from the sky.  They are everywhere.  Occasionally, I find one so magnificent I capture it and take it home so we can inhabit a space together. We try to teach each other our languages. Then I build stands for these stones, set them up on my dining room table, place them next to plants in my garden, and on the mantel above the fireplace.  Sometimes I cut into them to reveal something essential about them. By living with them, I learn their stories, and I have a strong sense that they draw language to themselves.

Some years ago, I received a Watson Fellowship to travel to China to study the history of Chinese calligraphy as inscribed on stone.  For one year, I traveled across China encountering ancient stone inscriptions.  I found them on stele, erected in ancient temples and gardens, half-buried in muddy streams, or on raw stones forgotten in deep ravines and on cliffs at the tops of mountains.  I love the way these rocks encounter language and, conversely, how language encounters stone.  Rock and language shape each other, and this relationship shapes us.  Part of this study resulted in me contemplating what might have led these ancient calligraphers to inscribe a word upon a rock, or to in some way bring a stone into the context of writing.  My sculptures are meditations of the encounters with and language of found stones.

 

I wrote an essay about this particular stone and its relationship to clouds.  Read the essay.