The Geologic Wall

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Geology is a phrase derived from Historic Greek; Geo, that means Earth, and ology that means the research of.  It’s Earth science, the definitions of the strong and liquid plenty that type our planet, and the multitude of rock varieties which might be manifested by the forces of Nature.  My father’s mother and father have been geologists, rock hounds as they have been known as within the Western US.  They went out on digs to search out minerals that they minimize and polished to make cabochons for cowboy belt buckles and bolo ties, and specimens they bought of their small rock store and at reveals.  I cherished all the gorgeous minerals in circumstances in the home and picked up stones out within the backyard.  My grandmother later donated thier finest specimens to the geology division at Oregon State College.  It’s no marvel that I work with stone, and understanding the processes concerned in how they got here to be is a vital a part of that work.

A small area of interest in a slender wall constructed on the opposite aspect of a pair of double doorways from the principle wall.

I arrived in New Zealand in early November, 2016 to start work at Camp Glenorchy, within the city of Glenorchy, north of Queenstown on the Head of Lake Wakatipu.  I used to be introduced right here to construct a representational braided river, weaving the group and the pure panorama in to a path system within the camp.  As I began to discover the lakeshore and rivers I used to be entranced by the sweetness and number of minerals to be present in such abundance.

The seashore at 25 mile Creek on Lake Wakatipu, the place I collected lots of the bigger stones within the wall

I’ve an obsessive propensity to gather stone.  I cant stroll down a rocky seashore with out surveying what I’m seeing, and all the time appear to return away with a pocketful, or armloads, or within the case of this undertaking, truckloads of gorgeous specimens of metamorphic rock that have been deposited by huge glaciers over the past ice age.  The stones I collected piled up round my trailer, with no actual concept of what I’d do with them.  It was my hope that I might be capable of construct a wall that showcased the great minerals from this area.  I gathered stones with particular shapes that may lend themselves to constructing and having distinctive character.  I all the time do that with a sensitivity to impression in order that no noticable hint is left when eradicating rock from the pure panorama.

Considered one of many truckloads of stone I collected for the Geology Wall

On a highway journey across the east and south coasts, I visited the Geology Museum on the College of Otago in Dunedin.  I requested a person organising an exhibit if there was anybody who taught there who may need data of the minerals discovered within the Lake Wakatipu area.  I used to be directed upstairs to the workplace of a professor named Daphne Lee.  She was very accomodating and gave me a e book she had coauthored with a geologist named Jane Forsyth known as Central Rocks: a information to geology and landscapes of Central Otago.  Otago is the title of the province that encompasses Lake Wakatipu.  I had introduced my laptop computer with me and confirmed her among the stepping stones I used to be making on the camp, and defined that they have been geologic samplers of minerals I collected from particular places, together with the West Coast.  She advised me that she did not know of anybody who had ever executed this earlier than and prompt that I contact Jane Forsyth and her companion Ian Turnbull.  This couple did a lot of the sphere work and evaluation of the Wakatipu area for the New Zealand Geologic Survey.  That they had revealed an in depth e book and exquisite map of the Wakatipu and its uncovered formations.  I used to be stunned once they wrote again instantly and came around me just a few days later.  They spent a complete afternoon going over my assortment and recognized all however one stone, which I had introduced from the US.  You could possibly see that they very a lot loved doing this.  Their data was spectacular to me.  Lastly I had discovered consultants who knew the tales of the supplies I have been utilizing for 30 years constructing mosaics.  Whereas I’ve some geology background, I discover it one of many geekier sciences, and really obscure whenever you learn the textbooks.

four of about 120 stepping stones I made that have been put in in paths whereas I used to be house

There are numerous good stone partitions on this area of the South Island, which is a main supply of among the best constructing stone within the nation.  There’s a conventional look to the wall work, mostly being flat laid schist slabs making a horizontal stacked association.  The basic regional freestanding wall has a row of vertically set stones forming the cap.

An previous schist wall within the Frankton Cemetery, south of Queenstown

I discovered a phenomenal ruined wall at Bob’s Cove on Lake Wakatipu close to a historic lime kiln, the place the one limestone outcrop within the area happens.  The limestone was burned to make lime mud to be used because the binding materials for making mortar and concrete.  This pioneer wall’s materials was regionally collected and has bigger stones in quite a lot of shapes and mineral varieties, which I cherished.  That is extra evocative of the work that I love to do.

A ruined stone wall at Bob’s Cove

Because the Homestead Constructing, the principle lodge at Camp Glenorchy was being constructed, I labored with a crew to create a braided river mosaic for the Conservatory ground.
The Conservatory is a glass doored room with an revolutionary glass ceiling that accommodates photo voltaic panels that have been manufactured in Dubai.  A stone wall was proposed for the within wall as a passive photo voltaic collector of warmth from the solar.  The solar warms the wall and shops warmth that disperses by the night time.  One other stone mason was scheduled to construct this wall however I had loftier hopes for the room, and begged to be allowed to create the wall I had dreamt of.  I used to be form of burnt out from making limitless braided river mosaics and was excited to do a vertical undertaking that did not must be completely flat.

The Conservatory doorways after set up

Working within the confines of this constructing had its challenges as there have been so many issues happening and builders of each commerce have been jockying for locations to arrange saws, pile lumber, paint woodwork, set up lighting and electronics, and laying flooring.  I began bringing in an assortment of stone in to a slender room.  The undertaking supervisor had arrange his workplace in right here, so I wasn’t capable of do any indoor chopping.   There was additionally a small kitchen space arrange for staff within the midst of all of it.  I saved a path open down the center of the room in order that staff may get by.  I often do my stonework exterior, in order that created one other set of challenges, in mortar stone and clear the work with out flooding the room.  I rigorously end my work by spraying the floor with a squeeze deal with nozzle on a hose.  They purchased me a small moist shopvac for this goal, which I used to suck up the water and mortar slurry that I washed off the partitions after every constructing session.

Bringing in stone and beginning to mock up the primary course of the wall

I began by laying out the primary course of stones, massive, heavy, and exquisite specimens, who’s bases I minimize flat in order that they might sit flush with the polished ground.  I protected the ground with rolled development cardboard and sheets of used plywood.  At first it was insinuated by the undertaking supervisor that I used to be not certified to construct a correctly engineered wall, so I needed to show that I knew what I used to be doing by instance.  Galvanized brick ties have been screwed in to the sealed strand board wall I used to be constructing in opposition to.  I bolstered the wall with ample scraps of rebar and reinforcing mesh I recycled from the storage yard, and drilled and inserted bolts in to stones that stood on finish to tie them in to the concrete that I poured behind the programs for again fill.  I do not assume this wall will likely be falling aside any time within the subsequent few thousand years, and may face up to earthquake exercise.

A stockpile of a small portion of the stones I collected for the Geology Wall

The association of the stones is set prematurely by inserting and becoming them collectively.  I like a decent match so the stones must nest collectively in a approach that feels proper.  There may be an intuitive sense 0f spacial recognition that’s required, and I typically exclaim an affirmation if the wedding of stone meant to be.  Its essential that they praise one another and create a base with the following course in thoughts.

Mocking up the primary course of stone, with brick ties screwed in to the wall

I used massive stones close to the bottom to offer a strong look to the inspiration of this three meter (9 half toes) wall.  They undertaking farther out than the highest so that there’s a slight battening to the face, giving it a gravitational power.

A aspect view displaying brick ties and bolts within the upright stones

I mortared the primary course of stones in place.  A few of them have shapes just like the mountains within the area, miniature snowy peaks.  I do not wish to see mortar joints in my work so I generally trim the stones with a diamond blade noticed to take away bumps and make them match extra tightly collectively.  I additionally used skinny shingle like stones I discover on sure seashores of the lake shore that I stack to make tiny cairns.  The shapes are like lengthy triangles laid flat in order that they’re nicely embedded in to the mortar backing them.  These little cairns fill the gaps between the stones in a approach that speaks to the forces of Nature that fashioned the rocks, like tremendous heated chemically laden water that deposited the quartzite minerals within the fractures within the base schist stones, solidifying in to the white and gold striping veins.

The primary course of stone mortared to the ground.

I used this element all through the wall, which provides a fragile unifying sample to the design.  Cairn constructing (stone stacking) is fashionable on the South Island of New Zealand, in all probability as a result of there are numerous water worn flat schist stones alongside the river banks and seashores of the lakes.

Cairns at Blue Swimming pools in Mt. Aspiring Nationwide Park

When the primary course of stones was set, I again crammed the area behind them with moist concrete and rubble I collected from the development web site, together with rebar for reinforcement.

Then I mocked up and set the second course in mortar.  The tightly match stones tackle a metaphorical look as to how they could seem when moved and wedged collectively by water in a river.  Every of the stones has some characteristic that made it particular to me.  There are great stripes of quartzite, and a variety of colours.  Some are dense and clean and others are layered.  Every has a narrative to inform of the way it got here to be what it’s at this time.

The tip part of the 2 programs of stone

The best way the room was constructed made it needed to complete the ends because the tough beams that I used to be constructing as much as solely projected two inches from the wall I used to be constructing in opposition to.  The sample of filling gaps with the skinny stacked shingles made it potential to complete the areas between the beams and the bigger stones the place they did not line up completely.

The second course all the best way throughout.

The inside window I used to be supposed to construct round, set in the course of the wall had a body that did not work with what I used to be creating, so a carpenter buddy, Matt Hood constructed me a brand new tough hewn hardwood body from stunning repurposed planks. It grew to become the proper praise to the country stone work.

Working as much as the brand new window body

On the opposite aspect of the pair of double glass doorways main in to the Greenstone Room is a slender strip of wall that was designated to be stone as nicely, so I started to work on that, since vertical stonework is completed in layers.  Discovering good nook stones shouldn’t be simple and I used to be lucky to have began gathering materials over the eight months earlier than I commenced on the undertaking.  I used numerous stone!  This part had the identical problem of ending as much as the sting of a beam that did not undertaking removed from the bottom wall.  You possibly can see how I used the small shingles to fill within the gaps.

four programs of stone on the slender wall part

Whereas I used to be engaged on the undertaking, a tremendous girl I knew who lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico handed away, so I constructed her a memorial area of interest.  I wished to create quite a lot of areas within the wall on which to position objects, candles, or bouquets.  These are flat ledges with arches, or slabs for roofs.  My pricey Aunt handed away shortly earlier than I returned to New Zealand so I additionally constructed a distinct segment for her.  After which my finest buddy’s Mom died and I constructed one other.  There are 7 in all, devoted to the spirit of departed ladies I’ve recognized.

Constructing Marian’s Area of interest
Helen’s Area of interest
Margaret’s Area of interest

The wall bought larger, and extra fascinating because it grew, and an everyday stream of holiday makers got here to see what was evolving.  The stones on this wall are so stunning to me as people, that it felt like I used to be making natural jewellery with semi treasured minerals.  I might lie awake at night time interested by the collective vitality of what I used to be manifesting on this monumental murals.

5 programs up.

I needed to make common journeys in the hunt for particular shapes to complete the corners on the top of the partitions.  Simply on the fringe of city is the Buckler Burn River, which has among the prettiest stone within the space.  I may drive a couple of minutes away and spend an hour on this stunning river, wading within the present to see what I may discover.

The Buckler Burn River

My shopper introduced me the components of a Tibetan necklace from the shop that had been taken aside, to include in to the wall.  At first I believed it could be unusual to incorporate these unique pictures of Buddhas and Bodhisatvas in to a wall about New Zealand Geology.  So I recessed them in to little area of interest areas framed within the flat single stones like miniature shrines.  They’re tucked again from the floor so that you just come across them whereas exploring the wall.  I researched the descriptions of the assorted figures and introduced the conciousness they represented in to the design.

A small hammered brass Buddha sits in a cave like area of interest


A tiny glass window framed in hammered brass reveals a Bodhisatva inside in a Tibetan votive
A hammered brass picture of Manjushri, Bodhisatva of prajñā, transcendent knowledge.

Over two weeks I completed the slender wall within the far nook, which accommodates one small area of interest backed with a phenomenal piece of pink Piemontite I discovered within the Shotover River close to Queenstown.  I used to be about three/4th of the best way completed with the bigger wall at this level.

The strain was on to complete the wall in order that the constructing may very well be signed off by inspectors.  I labored lengthy days and late in to the night time on a number of occassions.  It was all the time simpler to work when the opposite contractors have been gone, so I labored evenings and weekends for months on finish.

As I neared the highest I needed to do numerous chopping to get stones to suit snugly beneath the beam on the prime.  I labored from planks set on noticed horses, and finally a ladder.  I struggled at instances to elevate heavy stones in to position.  All of my fats has been burned off on this undertaking and I’m as lean and robust as I ever have been.

The completed wall, moist, so you possibly can see the colours

I completed the final of the wall at midnight one night whereas a buddy illuminated the wall along with his mobile phone, because the electrical energy wasn’t on.  The final stone was heavy, so he helped me elevate it in to position.  I named that final stone, within the higher proper hand nook the Emmy Stone after him.

A flash picture of the completed prime of the wall in order that I may examine my work after I bought again to my trailer

As soon as the wall was full the ground needed to be cleaned and reground to revive its polished end.  I labored with the ground grinders to resolve what sort of end I might placed on the stone to reinforce the colour, as soon as it was cleaned with hydrochloric acid.  The cleansing took the three of us eight hours and was not enjoyable.  We wore respirators and eye safety all day.

Cleansing the wall with diluted hydrochloric acid, known as Spirit of Salts in New Zealand

I went over each stone with a screw driver to trim extra mortar after which scrubbed each face with stiff brushes, including extra acid to take away cussed spots.  The acid dyed among the white quartzite a bizarre yellow shade so these needed to be scrubbed out with cleaning soap and water later.  Ultimately I selected a stone hardener moderately than a sealer which frivolously enhanced the stone however maintained a pure look.  I did not need it to have a synthetic plastic sheen.

The completed wall is sort of trippy.  Each stone is particular in its personal approach, and the match and composition of how they’re interconnected has a sure zen stability to it.  Shut inspection reveals great particulars and discoveries.  Considered one of my favourite objects within the wall is a weathered spiral forged metallic pump half that washed up on a seashore close to Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island.  Spiral shapes type when an object grows outward whereas turning, or is orbiting and increasing on the similar time.  Its a sample present in Nature from the subatomic to the galactic scale.  Since every part is actually made from parts dispersed within the mud of stars, we’re linked in a cosmic option to the stones within the wall.

A sq. area of interest, a brass padlock, and a spiraling forged metallic pump half from a ship I discovered on a seashore on the West Coast

Items of pink Piemontite, which I collected from the Shotover River simply south of Frankton and Queenstown stand out for thier uncommon shade.  The most important piece within the wall was given to me by pals who used to work on the airport.  There may be an space coated in stones that folks go away rocks earlier than they board their flights due to weight allowances for baggage.  The subsequent time I went to the airport I used to be stunned to see what number of stones there have been in a backyard mattress exterior the principle entrance.

A big piece of pink Piemontite that was left exterior the Queenstown Airport
The arched area of interest I constructed for my Aunt
One other area of interest backed by a phenomenal piece of quartzite layered schist.  An element from a ship engine I discovered on a seashore is tucked in to the decrease nook
This area of interest has a base stone with a zig zag edge that I discovered within the Earnslaw Burn

After the dedication of the constructing, I contacted Jane and Ian, the geologists I had met the 12 months earlier than, and requested them if they might be involved in giving a chat in regards to the stones within the wall and the ground mosaics.  The lecture Ian gave was a dream come true for me.  I actually constructed the wall for these folks, who perceive what it’s that I labored with.  The viewers bought a condensed however throrough 200 million 12 months historical past of the geology of New Zealand after which a tour of the assorted stones, with explanations as to how they fashioned.  It’s actually the explanation I constructed the wall, to create a bridge between rocks and the science of how they have been fashioned, thier supply, and distribution of the place they’re discovered.  It’s a device for participating with stone on a deeper degree of understanding.

Ian Turnbull, discussing the assorted strains of quartzite intrusions fashioned at completely different intervals in a chunk of Greywacke

At one level he advised the viewers that if a gaggle of geologists from New Zealand have been to assemble right here and get drunk, that they might be rolling all around the ground, which reveals the revealed minimize open interiors of the stones.

This darkish gray line was as soon as a thick layer of shallow sea sediment, maybe 5 meters thick that was compressed by monumental strain in to the 5 centimeter vein it’s at this time.
A pink edged stone seems to be like the hearth at Rat Level that occured on the Glenorchy highway above the lake the earlier summer time
Extra stunning stones.  The lime inexperienced stone to the far proper is Epidotic Schist, as in comparison with Inexperienced Schist within the higher left aspect.

A lot of the stones within the wall are from the Metamorphic Geologic Group.  There are three forms of stone, Igneous, which is of volcanic origin, Sedimentary, which was sediment laid down on sea and lake flooring, and Metamorphic, that are the earlier two modified beneath excessive warmth and strain deep within the Earth’s crust.  Faulting, after which glaciation and erosion exposes the stone on the floor.  Water carrying the stones in a river or washed up on a seashore wears the floor down, shaping, smoothing and sprucing it.  This water worn, touring materials is what I gather and work with in my artwork.


Quite a lot of superbly striped and coloured stones are showcased within the Geology Wall


The Geology Wall

As quickly because the room was prepared they wished to furnish it for the opening.  The furnishings has been rearranged quite a lot of instances and so they nonetheless have not gotten it proper.  I needed to let go of quite a lot of needs throughout this undertaking, however if you happen to can spend a while exploring this wall and it is not buried behind chairs, it’s nicely value whereas.

The Braided River ground within the Conservatory connects three units of exterior double doorways to 2 units inside


The slender wall within the nook


A trio of Tibetan votives set within the wall amongst niches of assorted styles and sizes

The Geology Wall undertaking was adopted by extra Braided River mosaic development in preparation for the opening of Camp Glenorchy.  After the ceremonies,  I started an formidable endeavor to create what is maybe the World’s largest driftwood mosaic of its type, in collaboration with grasp carpenter Matt Hood.  In some ways it’s just like the picket model of the Geology Wall, telling the story of the forests that grew up the Valleys above the lake, fallen from their moorings in to the rivers and worn to a softer type on their journey downstream to the seashores the place we collected it.  There are a lot of species of bushes within the forest that make for distinctive items of driftwood, every with its personal distinctive character and story.   This would be the topic of my subsequent essay.

The Driftwood Wall within the Humboldt Room

I prefer it when my work means one thing, when it modifications the best way folks assume and really feel in regards to the pure world, and within the strategy of doing the work I be taught to know deeply what it’s that I am manifesting.  Its all the time extra enjoyable to admire it than it’s to construct it, however as initiatives go, this was a enjoyable one.  Could it encourage a deeper appreciation for geology in those who spend time with it.

Thanks for studying, Jeffrey

Increased States of Being
Considered one of two padlocks donated by my shopper

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