Working only with rocks, gravity, and patience, artist Michael Grab (previously) builds precarious towers and bridges that seem to defy gravity. Grab first tried stone balancing during the summer of 2008 while exploring Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colorado, and quickly discovered an innate ability to build increasingly complicated, free standing stacks of rocks. While his stone sculptures rely heavily on intuition and experience, there’s actually a method he uses in most of his work involving hidden “tripods” found on the surface of any rock. He shares in detail:
Balance requires a minimum of three contact points. Luckily, every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a natural tripo for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the vibrations of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest “clicks” as the notches of the rocks are moving over one another. In the finest “point-balances,” these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters, and in rare cases can even go undetected, in which case intuition and experience become quite useful.
You can watch the video above to see Grab at work over the last year, and also see more photography of his stone balaning in his online portfolio or on Facebook. Grab survives mostly off print sales, so if you’re in need of a fancy new calendar for 2015, he’s got you covered.
Stone Field 00 / exp00 – simple attractor exponential field. 3D-printed sculpture.
Stone Field 07 /simple 1d linear polar field. 3D-printed sculpture.
Stone Field 07 /simple 1d linear polar field. 3D-printed sculpture, detail.
Back in 2009, Italian designer Giuseppe Randazzo of Novastructura released a series of generative digital “sculptures” that depicted carefully organized pebbles and rocks on a flat plane. Titled Stone Fields, the works were inspired in part by similar land art pieces by English sculptor Richard Long. As the images spread around the web (pre-dating this publication entirely) many people were somewhat disheartened to learn the images were created with software instead of tweezers, a testament to Randazzo’s C++ programming skills used to create a custom application that rendered 3D files based on a number of parameters.
Fast forward to 2014, and technology has finally caught up with Randazzo’s original vision. The designer recently teamed up with Shapeways to create physical prototypes of the Stone Fields project. He shares about the process:
Starting from 2009 project “Stone Fields”, some 3dmodels were produced from the original meshes. The conversion was rather difficult, the initial models weren’t created with 3dprinting in mind. The handling of millions of triangles and the check for errors required a complex process. Each model is 25cm x 25cm wide and was produced by Shapeways in polyamide (white strong & flexible). Subsequently they were painted with airbrush. […] The minute details of the original meshes were by far too tiny to be printed, however despite the small scale, these prototypes give an idea of the complexity of the gradients of artificial stones.
Watch the video above to see the sculptures up close, and you can see a few more photos over on Randazzo’s project site. If you liked this, also check out Lee Griggs.
Mineral Admiration is a new series of watercolor paintings by Vienna-based artist and illustrator Karina Eibatova. The juxtaposition of using a water-based medium to create images of stone is in line with Eibatova’s desire to only create images from nature, an exploration that has lead to dozens of publications in magazines, newspapers, and journals around the world. These new paintings are available as prints in her online shop.
Zen rock gardens are typically composed of carefully placed rocks, surrounded by sand that is raked to represent water ripples. They’re supposed to inspire a meditative state of calm and relaxation. They’re not supposed to inspire hunger and a sudden urge to put it in your mouth. Except this one does because it’s made of entirely edible ingredients. “In cities today, people do not have the luxury of gazing at gardens,” says Japanese designer Tomonori Saito, lamenting the loss of one his nation’s most relaxing pastimes. So he decided to create “Shin-an-ji Rock Garden” made from black sesame (the rocks) and sugar (the sand). Now you can have your garden and eat it too. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
I’m really enjoying this illustration project by French graphic designer and illustrator DZO who covered nearly every inch of these river stones and a found skull with his wildly imaginative illustrations. If you’ve never seen DZO’s work you can take a deep dive here or follow him on Instagram. (via Behance)
California artist Ester Roi (website currently down) works colored pencils to create drawings of imagined riverbeds that exhibit a superb understanding of the interaction between light, color and water. Roi uses a special drawing device called the Icarus Drawing Board that allows her to effectively create warm and cool “zones” underneath a wax-based medium. According to her website “the warm zone is used for mixing pigments, blending, burnishing and reworking. The cool zone is used for line drawing, layering, detailing and finishing touches.” The careful layering of pencil and wax apparently allows for some pretty brilliant color work. Although her website is currently down you can see more of her drawing and painting over on Facebook. (via drawing pencil)
Coledale is a small seaside village in New South Wales, Australia, a place known for its surfing and slow pace of life. It’s also home to artist Lizzie Buckmaster Dove who for years has taken daily walks along the beach, stopping to pick up things she found along the way. One of the objects she collected most frequently were smooth stones painted light blue on a single side which she would eventually discover were fragments of an oceanside sea pool that was being slowly consumed by the surf.
With help from a grant provided by the Australia Council for the Arts, Dove set to work on a series of installations using the swimming pool concrete. Titled Pool, The Alchemy of Blue, the works are meant as sort of an homage to lunar cycles and the moon’s power to create the tides that reclaimed the Coledale pool. Before an imminent construction project to completely resurface the pool Dove collected even larger pieces of the pool which would eventually help form the suspended installation you see above at Wollongong City Gallery.
You can see a video of Dove discussing the series by Theme Media and see much more work on her website.