Marble Zen Circle

  • 14480002

    This piece evokes the life and death cycle.  Everything in this piece was once alive, and now it is not. Perhaps I have contributed to new lives.

    The marble, of course, comes primarily from the skeletal remains of aquatic life, transformed into its present form via a very generous application of pressure and time.

    The wood base (Douglas fir) is itself a product of considerable time, not only in its growth as a tree, but in the time it took me to make it.


    The inspiration for this piece started with a desire to perhaps complete the repeated urge I have to make three-dimensional Zen “ensos”  (Japanese, meaning circle).  I had a vague idea stemming from a photo by Ansell Adams of a weathered tree leaning on a boulder on the crest of glacier point ridge in Yosemite Valley. I had acquired a marble stone that I thought would be pure enough that the extended tree branches would not collapse into the open negative space between them as I banged on it.


    The curved legs of the base were a very strong reminder of why practical construction consists primarily of right angle joints.  Here I used a fabrication technique that I loosely term Japanese joinery, which uses no nails or other fasteners besides interlocking joints and wooden pins.


    Keeping with the spirit of this approach, even the color is natural, achieved by burning the surface until black, then brushing it back to the desired color as you can see again in the first photo.  One concession I did have to make was to spray it with a sealer so the charred surface would not rub off on clothes or anything else that might brush against it.

    14480004Carving the stone was a leap of faith because until the form was essentially finished.  I didn’t know how to represent the cracks in the wood that are so vital to the appearance of age.   In nature they appear dark, but in this piece I left the surface white and gently marked the surface with a micro air tool and a point chisel.  The surfaces were just curved enough that the point wandered around erratically to make the cracks seem truly believable.  If you don’t believe it, look at the photos in the sculptures gallery section, and if you still don’t believe it, please don’t tell me.


    It’s a sculpture, and therefore there is another side.


                                                                           Bonus view: just one I wanted to share.