Matthew has been exploring the world of Stone Balance Art since the year 2008 when he arrived in Lanzarote, the Canary Islands and became inspired by the volcanic landscape there. His background is in the Fine Arts touching on live art performance and installation. However, he has always had a special relationship with landscape and it's inspirational nature saying it's what he misses most about his native British Isles.
What is Stone Balancing ? Tomas Lipps writes in his article, "The Art of Stone Balancing - Dances with Stones":
"Balancing stones … is, or can be, meditation, a physical feat, a creative challenge, an art… In Asia - in Tibet, Japan and South Korea, for instance - stones are stacked as the embodiment of a prayer. In Canada and Alaska, stones were, and are still, used to build free-standing dry stone totemic figures, called inukshuk. These serve as surrogate human presences that help to herd reindeer, and as friendly landmarks in a vast, lonely and nearly featureless landscape."
Essentially, Stone Balancing is about placing stones one on top another in playful challenging ways. It may seem an absurd activity, but with careful poise and a Zen like "oneness" with the Stones, it is possible to create magical ephemeral configurations that baffle and bewilder. And it’s precisely those reactions that make Stone Balancing Art so curiously popular.
Many people think there is a trick involved - cement, Photoshop or even the use of a bit of chewing gum to keep the stones in balance. But the only real trick is the practice of patience, concentration and sensitivity that sometimes results in what could be termed an existential or meditative state of being.
You have to surrender to what the stone can "give". It’s about collaborating with the nature of the stones and learning to recognise and accept their limits of ability. In a metaphorical sense, how often do we try to balance things that can never be balanced because we lack the awareness or deny the true qualities of those things ?
Successful Stone Balancing brings you completely down to Earth and obliges you to really touch the essence and nature of the Stones and their Environment. If the wind gets up, the Stones can fall over. Natural. But a need to attach so much importance to everything we touch and create is not natural. It is learnt. An essential part of learning to Stone Balance requires an "Unlearning" of that preciousness and illusion of control we often impart on our surroundings. Once you commit to the challenge of Balancing Stones in challenging ways - you make an invisible "contract" between yourself, the Stones and the Environment.
Now, more than ever, Stone Balancing provides a timely point of balance in the chaos and disequilibrium of a fast moving world. Images of Stone Balancing adorn the walls of Beauty Salons, Spas, Massage Therapy Rooms - any place where peace and calm is important. At home or in the office, Stone Balancing Art delivers that sense of tranquility we often miss in our hectic day to day.
Touch the moment
It is clear that there is a direct symbiosis between the moment of balance in the Stones and the moment of Balance you achieve in yourself whilst balancing them. Thats why I recommend participating in a PlayShop so that you can truly experience the nature of that moment. Tune into the qualities of the stone, refine your awareness in order to assist the Stone to a temporary point of stillness and accept the nature of that moment, conscious that the Stone will eventually succumb to the wind, a bird or even a curious passer-by who can't resist a certain destructive temptation.