When the Stone Speaks

by Laura Belford

Last summer, with the help of my friend and artist, Simon Chidharara, I acquired a piece of stone that promised to deliver some lovely colours. I was very excited to begin this project.

When I started to work on it this winter, I had a vision in mind. Drawing inspiration from some Shona pieces that I’ve seen, I wanted to create a simple, organic design with the intention of showing off the colours in the stone. Silly me.

I worked hard, creating an orb and a separate, upright section that was eventually going to imply a leaf-like structure. One day, after a lot of “orb-smoothing”, and happy with my afternoon’s work, I went to put the piece away, when I noticed a fissure that required some attention. During my next session, I “explored” this fissure and to my horror, almost all of the orb fell off. While not surprised, I still managed to find a few choice words, that reflected how much time I had spent creating this now separate spherical piece of smoothish rock – now ear marked to be a turtle.

But what to do with the larger piece of stone? Apparently there were more fissures to be explored and as chunk after chunk came away, I was finally left with a secure but rather odd shaped piece. Good thing I wasn’t planning on a truly representational sculpture!

The stone had spoken. And it continued to tell me what to do, as the final piece came off and I gamely followed the lines that were presented to me. Eventually I finished. And rather than a simple design, I was left with a very twisty abstract. And it needed a name. Go with the Flow. What else could it be?

I recently showed the sculpture to Simon, and I think he agreed with the stone. Sometimes things happen for a reason.

What did I learn, besides patience? When the stone speaks to me, I better listen. It’s much older and wiser than I’ll ever be.