Here’s the progress of Skystones this week.
Sunday – cold and wet. Spend afternoon searching and digging out discarded stone from a neglected corner of the outbuilding. The stone is filthy, heavy and nowhere near enough.
Mon – down the muddy track to the estuary looking for more stone. A lovely winters’ day – quiet, apart from the distant muffled roar of traffic and the cries of wading birds skimming the water. I spend a couple of hours scanning the ground, looking for just the right pieces. I register every detail, as I carefully fill up three bags. From time to time, as I lift up a slab, I disturb hundreds of tiny wormy fly things. They leap into the air and scuttle away full speed under the nearest available stone. I have no idea what they are called, though I remember them perfectly: pinkish translucent bodies, with gossamer wings catching the sunlight (which fills them with horror).
Stagger back up the long steep muddy track, weighed down with bags of stone.
Tue – first obstacle: one or more of our delightful local adolescents has thrown stones through my studio window, in an attempt to help me out with my materials shortage. (The studio is actually a tiny room in the dilapidated stone outbuilding). This gives me a warm sense of familiarity, because I have never yet known an art project without a series of unexpected obstacles. Even a simple straightforward one such as this.
Wed – down to the beach again to collect more stones. Cold and overcast today, which actually makes it easier to pick out the type I want. As I work, I listen to the wind in the trees, the sudden crackle of dry branches overhead, the cry of curlew, lapwing and the black-headed gulls over the water. It is such a relief from human chatter. The hard part is carrying the stones home, up the long muddy lane through the trees.
Thur – Outside scrubbing stones in a tin bath. Ask son whether he would like to help. He says: No thanks. I would rather polish my lute.
Fri – second obstacle –most of my main website seems to have vanished. This is not really an obstacle, just another time-consuming stress factor. I refuse to get wound-up, and congratulate myself smugly at having meditated for 15 minutes this morning. Exchange polite emails with my web host. Check out builders merchants for suitable (cheap) window solution. In the evening web hosts tell me they have restored my site’s backup – except that they haven’t.
Sat – outside, more stone-washing, and laying them out on the ground to gauge quantities. As promised in my proposal, I begin to imbue the stones with peaceful wishes as I work. Both studio windows now have wonderful plastic double glazing, which has cut out lots of drafts.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!