‘I know its a stone … but what is it MADE of?’
I was intrigued and curious and wanted to see inside these hard rocks. Stones of different shapes sizes and colours embedded in concrete that made up a patch just outside the door of our back garden. I was around 5 years old and like most young children, quite happy to be lost in my own thoughts and make believe games enjoying exploring the vast universe that was our back garden in the suburbs of London. I particularly remember a smooth black pebble around 4cm long and wondered where it came from. My family were unable to or more likely – not interested in answering a 5 year olds questions about the planet and the universe.
I would have taken up geography and learnt all about earth sciences but sadly the teacher was ready for retirement. Instead of inspiring us, we were told to keep quiet and copy out pages and pages of texts from books explaining how steel was made. I used the lessons to improve my handwriting … Perhaps I should take a geology course and learn things for myself.
Many of us love collecting stones and rocks found on walks or beaches, it’s a common human instinct to wonder at their form and beauty.
I still love drawing and painting these amazing forms and I have been lucky to learn how to how to sculpt and carve different stone with the help of Bernard Johnson http://www.bernardjohnson.co.uk/Site_/Home.html
Working the stone, creating the form and allowing it to reveal its’ colours and patterns is incredibly rewarding. Sometimes the stone splits at a weak point and that’s that. You can try and salvage it or move on. Other times the form reveals itself different to what you had intended to create and personally I love these moments; where the stone decides what it wants to be. It’s usually more interesting and I know it’s come from an unconscious place deep inside me.