soon enough, I’ll be driving back to New Jersey for *gulp* my last year of school. I always miss Maine most dreadfully, but the change of scene can be good, and I’m chomping at the bit to get some work done. being creative isn’t as hard when someone gives you a starting point, for me – for my architecture, I suspect it will be a matter of the site, if my rock stacks suggest any shade of the future.
I wasn’t amazingly happy with this stack, which I did as a farewell to the beach at Fort Williams, but it will do. I was very afraid the left-hand column was going to collapse as I placed the first beam crossing from the right, so I removed it and worked with the beam that links the boulder in back with the right-hand column. the columns are quite fragile if any lateral force is applied – as the constituent elements are not flat planes, there isn’t much to keep them from sliding across one another, or from spinning out as the loads redistribute down the post and contact points change. because of this, I continuously vacillated between different crossing elements and which side should be built from first.
one of the odd things about these columns is that I actually built them quite loose and small in section for the load that I ended up placing upon them. often I build as though I am making a puzzle – each layer much be a consistent sheet of stones, edges touching across all lines. this time there were gaps everywhere, and it made for some different element choices than I would usually make. flat faces are still mostly apparent, though. I have given some thought to trying a spiraled, round column instead of a square layered one, but the only time I’ve done anything spiraled it didn’t get much height to it in relation to its width. I suppose I wasn’t building with height in mind, though, so I might need to take another look. the rocks at watchung aren’t entirely suitable for that sort of construction, but perhaps there are other stacking spots in Jersey that I am unaware of – anyone in northern New Jersey know of a place with loose stone I can visit? anyway, I will be investigating different construction methods and forms for columns later on, for sure.
I’m realizing in writing this that the biggest thing this stack has given me is a clearer idea of what I want to try next. along with thinking about different column types, I really would like to get better at corbelling and to try my hand at a true arch. this stack used just dumb trabeation to bridge the gaps between the posts and the boulder in back. sure, it’s safer, quicker, and easier, with less chance of the whole thing coming down while you place the lintels, but what’s the point of staying within my comfort zone, repeating things I know over and over? this roof does have some interesting qualities to it, but to get a true arch with a primitive groined vault going? that would be lovely, indeed. I aspire to much greater proficiency with dry stack masonry than I currently posses, and there’s no way to get it without diving in and making mistakes.
well, that’s it for both this stack and my Maine summer. I only got 10 stacks which I could photograph up, though I did complete a few others that, though there are no pictured, taught me things and soothed my spirit. I always feel a great loss when I leave my home state, which is so pleasantly rural, full of wonderful sights and smells, but duty calls, and this beauty will persist unabated until my return. within the week, I’ll probably have a post up from the Watchung Reservation – I doubt my Watchung Wall is still existent, but I’ll be mightily pleased if it is. have a good weekend, folks. good luck if you’re returning to school.