|A pink Piemontite and Green Schist whirlpool twists through the gap between beautiful stones|
|My Grandmother on the Sweet Home Rock and Mineral Society float|
|A small niche in a narrow wall built on the other side of a pair of double doors from the main wall.|
|The beach at 25 mile Creek on Lake Wakatipu, where I collected many of the larger stones in the wall|
|One of many truckloads of stone I collected for the Geology Wall|
|4 of about 120 stepping stones I made that were installed in paths while I was home|
|An old schist wall in the Frankton Cemetery, south of Queenstown|
|A ruined stone wall at Bob's Cove|
The Conservatory is a glass doored room with an innovative glass ceiling that contains solar panels that were manufactured in Dubai. A stone wall was proposed for the inside wall as a passive solar collector of heat from the sun. The sun warms the wall and stores heat that disperses through the night. Another stone mason was scheduled to build this wall but I had loftier hopes for the room, and begged to be allowed to create the wall I had dreamt of. I was kind of burnt out from making endless braided river mosaics and was excited to do a vertical project that didn't have to be perfectly flat.
|The Conservatory doors after installation|
|Bringing in stone and starting to mock up the first course of the wall|
|A stockpile of a small portion of the stones I collected for the Geology Wall|
|Mocking up the first course of stone, with brick ties screwed in to the wall|
I used large stones near the base to give a solid look to the foundation of this 3 meter (9 1/2 feet) wall. They project farther out than the top so that there is a slight battening to the face, giving it a gravitational strength.
|A side view showing brick ties and bolts in the upright stones|
|The first course of stone mortared to the floor.|
I used this detail throughout the wall, which gives a delicate unifying pattern to the design. Cairn building (stone stacking) is popular on the South Island of New Zealand, probably because there are a lot of water worn flat schist stones along the river banks and beaches of the lakes.
|Cairns at Blue Pools in Mt. Aspiring National Park|
Then I mocked up and set the second course in mortar. The tightly fit stones take on a metaphorical look as to how they might appear when moved and wedged together by water in a river. Each of the stones has some feature that made it special to me. There are wonderful stripes of quartzite, and a wide range of colors. Some are dense and smooth and others are layered. Each has a story to tell of how it came to be what it is today.
|The end section of the two courses of stone|
|The second course all the way across.|
|Working up to the new window frame|
|4 courses of stone on the narrow wall section. The foreman had his work desk set up right next to this section of wall!|
|Building Marian's Niche|
|Auntie Helen's Niche|
|5 courses up.|
|The Buckler Burn River|
|A small hammered brass Buddha sits in a cave like niche|
|A tiny glass window framed in hammered brass reveals a Bodhisatva inside in a Tibetan votive|
A hammered brass image of Manjushri, Bodhisatva of prajñā, transcendent wisdom.
The pressure was on to finish the wall so that the building could be signed off by inspectors. I worked long days and late in to the night on several occassions. It was always easier to work when the other contractors were gone, so I labored evenings and weekends for weeks on end.
As I neared the top I had to do a lot of cutting to get stones to fit snugly under the beam at the top. I worked from planks set on saw horses, and eventually a ladder. I struggled at times to lift heavy stones in to place. All of my fat has been burned off on this project and I am as lean and strong as I ever have been.
|The finished wall, wet, so you can see the colors|
|A flash photo of the finished top of the wall so that I could check my work when I got back to my trailer. The Emmy Stone is in the upper right hand corner.|
|Cleaning the wall with diluted hydrochloric acid, called Spirit of Salts in New Zealand|
The finished wall is quite trippy. Every stone is special in its own way, and the fit and composition of how they are interconnected has a certain zen balance to it. Close inspection reveals wonderful details and discoveries. One of my favorite objects in the wall is a weathered spiral cast metal pump part that washed up on a beach near Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island. Spiral shapes form when an object grows outward while turning, or is orbiting and expanding at the same time. Its a pattern found in Nature from the subatomic to the galactic scale. Since everything is essentially made of elements dispersed in the dust of stars, we are connected in a cosmic way to the stones in the wall.
|A square niche, a brass padlock, and a spiraling cast metal pump part from a boat I found on a beach on the West Coast|
|A large piece of pink Piemontite that was left outside the Queenstown Airport|
|The arched niche I built for my Aunt with a green stone with a layer of quartzite we call the Platypus on the left|
|Another niche backed by a beautiful piece of quartzite layered schist. A part from a boat engine I found on a beach is tucked in to the lower corner|
|This niche has a base stone with a zig zag edge that I found in the Earnslaw Burn|
|Ian Turnbull, discussing the various lines of quartzite intrusions formed at different periods in a piece of Greywacke|
|This dark grey line was once a thick layer of shallow sea sediment, perhaps 5 meters thick that was compressed by enormous pressure in to the 5 centimeter vein it is today.|
|A red edged stone looks like the fire at Rat Point that occured on the Glenorchy road above the lake the previous summer|
|More beautiful stones. The lime green stone to the far right is Epidotic Schist, as compared to Green Schist in the upper left side.|
|A variety of beautifully striped and colored stones are showcased in the Geology Wall|
|The Geology Wall|
|The Braided River floor in the Conservatory connects three sets of exterior double doors to two sets inside|
|The narrow wall in the corner|
|A trio of Tibetan votives set in the wall amongst niches of various shapes and sizes|
|The Driftwood Wall in the Humboldt Room|
Thanks for reading, Jeffrey
|Higher States of Being|
|One of two old padlocks donated by my client|