the biggest thing, I’m finding, is the contact point. I call them point balances because the footprint of contact between elements is often so small, but in truth, there is a little circle of contact on each piece. some have more contact than others, but the important point is whether there is any rotational force going on. lateral balance isn’t that hard – just load the top up and the tipping is negated – but the slightest bit of spin or sliding due to a lousy point of contact and everything you’ve previously made stable is gonna be compromised.
inertia really is your friend. one of the important points of building without a connective material like mortar is to ensure that the center of mass of your construction falls within the footprint of the actual contact points, but the very nature of this sort of construction is that there is basically no footprint of contact points.
what I’m having to figure out is how to go beyond just having one column of elements. I think I’m going to have to try to work with bracing and falsework in order to get a little more complicated in the form of my work with these point balances. the next time I get out there to work, I start with an attempt to have a few simple additional stones on each cantilever. and then see if I can do a split build, with two or three point balances forking and rejoining. later explorations, once I get those techniques under my belt, will be to involve rhythm and patterning in the elements of the constituent point balances.