Stone balancing is an art form which an audience may interpret in various ways, for example as a performance, an aesthetic form or simply a source of wonder. Some may seek a more spiritual meaning in the interplay between rocks, air, sky and gravity. Sometimes there may be no audience at all, the stone sculptures are produced merely for the pleasure of the artist.
Essentially the art form involves placing a combination of rocks or stones in arrangements which require patience and sensitivity to generate, and which sometime may appear implausible. Rock balancers are frequently asked how the forms can stand without glue or other supports. The key factors are the shape and mass of the pieces, their balancing points and the interaction of the forces of gravity and friction. The forms can range from the stacking of simple flat stones to more complex arrangements with counterbalance, single balance points, arches and many other shapes and combinations. The creations can be random shapes or planned to resemble natural or man-made formations.
With experimentation and time I have developed some skills in producing stone art and find it an enjoyable and relaxing pastime. For me it is a simple pleasure to spend time focusing on a small piece of work which is by nature temporary but unique. Each piece is a challenge to my imagination, dexterity and patience and I find the interaction with the natural elements of stone and the forces of gravity, friction and wind help me to appreciate the natural environment. However there are some expert artists who devote their lives and careers to inventing new techniques and continue to push the boundaries of the art form. The Internet has many web sites with incredible photographs of the type of work done by a number of professional exponents.
Kefalonia provides many opportunities to try stone balancing in beautiful, natural and peaceful locations. The wonderful beaches on the island vary in character, from the long sandy stretches of Skala, Mounda or Avithos, to the smaller more pebbly beaches more typical of the north of the Island, such as Ebylisi and Dafnoudi. You will find on most beaches a variety of stones, from the smooth bright white rounded pebbles of Myrthos and Antisamos, through a whole range of limestone, igneous rock and conglomerates. Perfect materials for creating your own piece of individual art!
The activity is made all the more pleasurable if it can be practised in a naturist environment, without the encumbrance of clothes as this helps to provide a more perfect connection between the mind, body and natural environment. The lovely island of Kefalonia is blessed with many tranquil locations where naturist stone balancing can be done; some accessible by roads and tracks, others only by boat from the crystal clear sea.
The art form of rock balancing can be actively enjoyed by anyone, of any age. Try it for yourself – you will be surprised at the lovely shapes and patterns that you can produce with a little patience and imagination, simply by stacking stones on top of one another. I hope the examples of my work included here will provide some inspiration and get you started.
Colin lives and works at Vassaliki, in Kefalonia, in the summer months. As part of his role at the resort Colin hosts informal art sessions for guests to encourage participation and development of artistic skills.