smallstack – the details of shifting forces

I worked last night with smaller stones, contrasting with my “brute force” stacks. the relationships with smaller rocks are more difficult, as the force imparted by slight errant movements of your fingers as you place the pieces is more than enough to counteract the friction holding the rocks in place. if the rocks were flatter or rougher (as they are at the Watchung Reservation)  I would be more able work with less trepedation. the stack shown here is the fifth attempt, and I attempted three more after completeing this one – none of them held long enough to be photographed. this difficulty endears my successful work to me.

some of the photos below show before I placed the large, rounded rock on top; when this stone was placed, the entire flow of force though the stack changed. the center of gravity shifted towards the back, making many of the rocks that were previously crucial on the opposite side uneeded.

here we see spaces left once I removed the superfluous stones; the form is somehow unsettling to me. what was a uniform column now has gaps and bare spots – the interesting thing learned by removing loose stones is to see the diagram of gravity. I would love to draw a line and joint model of a stack, showing only from where to where the weight sends its force; perhaps next time I will bring a pad of paper.

I’m gonna work more with small stones in future trips. next time I plan to work with only one type of stone and do a series of small stacks, investigating what each type of rock suggests; forms will be more restricted by the morphology of the minerals. however, we all know what happens when you plan to be creative – the moment often sweeps the preconcieved ideas away and forces you to take another tack.

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