Serpentine Wall II

one of my first stacks I was truly proud to present to you all was my serpentine wall back in 2011. I decided to revisit the form last month, and was really satisfied with the results.

serpentine gif



often when I get to the beach, I have no idea of what I want to do. this was one of those times, so I built a simple point balance. I was sitting and looking at it against the waves, and decided I wanted to enshrine it in another build. it wasn’t that it was that great, but I thought the exercise would be fun. I started building a c curve to contain it and point towards the ocean, a place to sit. when my back began to twinge, I took a break from the heavy lifting to build a second point balance, deciding to continue the curve into an S.

the curve had a slight slope to it as I was trying to cap the surface of the first side of the S, and I decided to feature this concept with a continual grade across the entire body, swooping up from the ground to a high point. I’m trying to force myself away from flat, square work, but it’s the easiest and most instinctual thing to do. the work is pretty rough through this whole wall – little of the tight masonry I usually try to feature at least a little of in my builds, but this project was really big, and I’ve got to keep within my stamina’s limits if I want to finish anything meaningful before I leave the beach.

most stacks take 3 hours; this project took more like 5. the feeling of completion was gratifying; for once, I committed to sitting down and actually enjoying what I had constructed. as I sat on the wall, various other visitors to the beach congregated around the curves, sitting, leaning, or walking along the slope, talking, taking pictures, and watching the gray ocean moving in and out. a really restorative moment. sitting and eating my snack, I felt more connected to nature than I had in a long time.

the wall has stayed up over the last month. certain pieces seem to attract interaction; even though they don’t know exactly how to do it, people want to get involved. they want to be a part of it. so, they’ve piled more rocks on top of the flat surface, turning the wall into a sort of wandering slug. in morphing from its original form, it’s lost some of its personal artistic appeal, but it’s gained a lot of human worth to me. I don’t like people at the beach praising my work because it embarrasses me, but noting makes me happier than seeing people enjoying it on their own. any moment someone spends relaxing with my art is worth as much to me as it is to them.

perhaps some day I’ll take a week off from work and try to transform as much of the landscape at the cove beach as possible without injuring myself. part of me says it’s arrogant to make the whole place my playground, but I know it’ll all just vanish back into gentle chaos before I know it. it’s an exercise in love and effort, then acceptance and release.  through it all, immersion. more stacking to come. another day. more dreams. here’s to 100 posts, let’s go further.

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