[highlight1] ‘Gravity Glue’ Rock Balanced Sculptures [/highlight1]
Gravity Glue is an ongoing satellite project designed to record and share Michael Grab‘s experience and journey through the art of Stone Balance. Gravity is the only “glue” that holds these structures in equilibrium.
Rock balancing is an art, discipline, or hobby (depending upon the intent of the practitioner) in which rocks are balanced on top of one another in various positions. There are no tricks involved to aid in the balancing, such as adhesives, wires, supports, or rings.
Rock balancing can be a performance art, a spectacle, or a devotion, depending upon the interpretation by its audience. Essentially, it involves placing some combination of rock or stone in arrangements which require patience and sensitivity to generate, and which appear to be physically impossible while actually being only highly improbable. The rock balancer may work for free or for pay, as an individual or in a group, and their intents and the audiences’ interpretations may vary given the situation or the venue.
Styles of rock balancing:
- Pure balance – each rock in near-point balance
- Counterbalance – lower rocks depend on the weight of upper rocks to maintain balance
- Balanced stacking – rocks lain flat upon each other to great height
- Free style – mixture of the two above; may include arches and sandstone.
Gravity Glue was originally created as an outlet to share my experience in the art of stone balance. To share that which I have absolutely fallen in love with… Overwhelmingly positive response often inspires me to further explore and share the possibilities.
Through witnessing what this art has done for me personally over years of practice, my vision grows more and more to encourage others to seek their own “still-point” or inner silence. No-one but YOU is required to experience your divine nature. This art allows one to freely be themselves, manifesting their own particular vibrations into a 3D world.
Stone balance teaches the practitioner lessons through silence. The inner silence that one cultivates through balancing (or other meditative practice) is a foundation to realizing that each of us are as much one another as we ARE our entire universe. One gigantic symphony. and to apply a framework of “balance” to the earth-organism will be infinitely beneficial for the well-being of our children, as well as the diversity of life we co-exist with..
As far as i know, many cultures from across the globe have practiced the art of balancing rocks for several centuries, if not longer. Rocks are among the oldest of primitive tools. In balance, their purposes range from marking human presence to giving thanks to meditative nature art.
Over the past few years of practicing rock balance, simple curiosity has evolved into therapeutic ritual, ultimately nurturing meditative presence, mental well-being, and artistry of design. Alongside the art, setting rocks into balance has also become a way of showing appreciation, offering thanksgiving, and inducing meditation. Through manipulation of gravitational threads, the ancient stones become a poetic dance of form and energy, birth and death, perfection and imperfection. they become a reflection of ourselves in a way; precariously sturdy, mysterious and fragile. The ephemeral nature of the balance often encourages contemplations of non-attachment, beauty, and even death. one of the most lovely experiences in practicing rock balance is the unspoken dialogue between the rocks, the surrounding environment and my own creative flow. It is a remarkably sensual experience to feel for balance points and realize them… The positive reactions from people and community often inspire me to continue balancing in public areas. The effect it has tends to be spiritual in nature. For most people, seeing rocks precariously balanced is completely out of the ordinary. the eyes will often argue with the mind over how such a structure can remain in equilibrium.
- “There would be no chance at all of getting to know death if it happened only once. But fortunately, life is nothing but a continuing dance of birth and death, a dance of change. Every time I hear the rush of a mountain stream, or the waves crashing on the shore, or my own heartbeat, I hear the sound of impermanence. These changes, these small deaths, are our living links with death. They are death’s pulses, death’s heartbeat, prompting us to let go of all the things we cling to.” – Sogyal Rinpoche
The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of “tripod” for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. In the finer point balances, these clicks can be felt on a scale smaller than millimeters. Some point balances will give the illusion of weightlessness as the rocks look to be barely touching. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, i am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.
- “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try” – Yoda
Achieving a challenging balance requires contemplation of both mental and physical elements simultaneously. You must “get to know” the rocks you are working with. Some rock characters will coordinate better with other characters of rocks and vice versa back and forth right, left, up, or down. The trick I’ve found is to play and experiment. If you keep at it, a balance will be inevitable if you make yourself present in that moment of balance. The closer you get to achieving balance, the more weightless the rock seems to feel, since the majority of the work is applied upward on the rock you are trying to balance. Another tip I would suggest is try balancing larger rocks. using larger rocks only magnifies the feeling of the “clicks”. Also, more weight will usually have more stability in wind or other erosive forces. Here is another short video demonstrations of rock balance..
Michael Grab was born in Edmonton, Canada in 1984 and relocated to Boulder, Colorado in 2002 to attend University. He stumbled upon the art of rock balance through an unexpected spell of boredom in the summer of 2008. Since then he has gained a local reputation for designing large-scale balanced rock gardens up and down Boulder Creek, which flows through the heart of Boulder. Over the years Michael has attracted repeated visitors and sometimes small crowds while he balances and photographs creek rocks during his free time. The community response is normally very positive and many report meaningful experiences when they witness Michael’s stone balance work. He hopes to use his stone balance experience to perform demonstrations, but also to practice architectural design and to teach kids the benefits of creating nature art, including free artistic expression, presence of mind, and connecting with their surrounding environment.
[highlight1] Data [/highlight1]
Name: ‘Gravity Glue’
Type: Sculpture, Installation
Materials: natural rock
Technique: rock balancing
[highlight1] The people [/highlight1]
Artist: Michael Grab – Colorado, United States
Text Description: © Courtesy of Michael Grab
Images: © Michael Grab