Using What’s Available

With the September flood came LOTS of flood debris… mostly left curled around creek-lining trees….. for many, the debris might be annoying and ugly… but i see an opportunity to play with natural tools literally shaped by a disaster…

most of the debris is composed of dead roots, twigs, branches, some garbage (which i removed and disposed of)… but primarily a variety of wood…. the overwhelming pressure from the flood water curled all kinds of rigid wood around the stronger bigger trees, giving them ALL a slight to drastic series of curves…..

I normally go down to the creek with balancing rocks in mind…as it is somewhat ritual… but the winds have been strong lately… highly unusual for Boulder… especially lasting for so long…

anyway, the wind sometimes asks me to think more outside the box… There is a special quality to these instances… when I have nothing in mind accompanied by a natural limitation (such as wind).. I simply allow a flow to happen… with whatever.. in this case, flood debris… I didn’t have much in mind as far as an end goal… this time was ALL about process.. collecting, placing, curling, and weaving twigs together… i highly enjoyed the way it evolved without my noticing.. each of the thousands of twigs a tiny moment to realize the whole… similar to how we tend to not notice ourselves age from a momentary perspective……


the activity filled my spirit with energy… enjoying it more and more as I went along….

Just to clarify… this is all natural, found, loose materials along the creek in my immediate vicinity… primarily wooded flood debris (roots, twigs, etc..) and dead branches blown off by recent high winds.. there are NO ADHESIVES..  but, like my regular work with stone, ‘gravity glue’ is at work here as well… :D


Alone, each piece was relatively weak and brittle… but as they began tangling with one another, in greater numbers and varieties, especially to the degree shown, the structure became INCREDIBLY strong. Surprisingly strong.. though, after some consideration, i’m not surprised at all..  some good ol’ Experimentation and Learning…  :)



14 Responses
  1. Paula

    I just became aware of this practice today. When I read the words “use what’s available” I looked to my left and there was a very heavy rock I’ve had for several years. It’s broken into 3 pieces so I tried balancing. I put the middle sized piece on the bottom then the small piece next then the largest piece last. To my surprise I was able to balance them! I’m 62 and have been doing different types of yoga and meditation for many years.

    1. the creation in this post is not my usual work… this was pure experimentation.. but to answer your question, my stone balance work is very distinguishable from AG.. i specialize in highly technical, multidimensional stone balance creations… things that require a skill and practice beyond any stone balance creation AG has published….relatively simple stone balance is a small portion of AG’s overall work… he is more generally a Land Artist… i specialize in the subgenre of stone balance… and also, both our photography styles are quite distinguishable if you spend some time reviewing each body of work.. :)

  2. Deborah

    I ran across your work last year and was amazed. I recently found a place near where I live to get near the water. I balanced my first rock last week, and from the moment I did it, I was hooked. I watched your videos and read what you wrote about how you do it. Today I went to the creek and as I was choosing rocks to work with… I rejected what I considered ‘the easy ones’ I chose improbable rocks. I thank you for opening the door to such a magical and delightful way to get in touch with nature…
    Here’s today’s beginner’s work…

  3. My daughter and I came across you balancing rocks a few days ago in Boulder Creek (Feb 22). The second I saw you we stopped on the bridge (and gave you a wave!) and watched for a couple of minutes – I was immediately mesmerized. I look forward to spotting your work around town – it’s absolutely beautiful.


  4. Epiphany

    I ran across a piece on you on livebuzz through a facebook link. I watched the video posted there. There was a faint image of your website, and I typed it in to my browser. Here, I found a link to this beautiful blog, and this amazing creation along the water. Now, I am totally intrigued.

    The first clue (the link with picture) was how much balance I found doing a similar, but not nearly as precise thing along the Illinois River last summer (more stacking than balancing for the rocks) and finding such an alignment with my surroundings. It’s true that the sound of water helps my meandering mind to just “be”. This prompted me to click.

    The next were photos of your work there, and how they made me feel. It literally took my breath away, but in a good way… in a way like not wanting to disturb the sound of falling snow with the sound of my breathing. So, I watched your video.

    Watching you create, or maybe even assist what is already created to combine/coexist in a a different way to form a new expression. For me, that is more than art. Maybe it was the way you describe the process for you that prompted me to further discover… but I am so glad I did.

    I will share with you, that because of this piece, I am newly inspired. I am a fiber artist, and often dream of creating things that depict the places I see in my world, using both the felted wools and the things I find in my journey (wood, shell, rock, plant). I also have a certain spot a few miles away where I enjoy just be-ing. I am now curious as to whether I might find both a nice sunny day, and some “debris” to play with there soon.. I suppose if not, I’ll just have to balance some rocks!!

  5. I have long known that many artists collect stone and pebble although I do not know why. You take this to another level! just wonderful; and so very zen – best ashar

  6. Love your work, your attitude and passion. Bekky told it in her comment; it calm our mind to look how you works, which place you choose, when you take the photo, I put your video to my FB, majority of my friends are my collegues – artists. Hope you are ok with it :-) thank you

  7. Grant Kalasunas

    Mr Grab
    I am a huge rockhound. I am always searching for the pretty rocks to use for my art work. I cut, carve, grind polish and shine rocks to make butterflies, angels, and other soft beings. In one of your photos you are on a frozen creek and there is a huge red stone protruding from the ice. Red stone is my favorite and I was wondering where this particular creek is?

    Thank you

    1. hey Grant, it depends on what photo you are talking about… but chances are it was shot in Boulder Creek, Boulder, CO…. tons of red rocks… also my favorite… but if you want REALLY rich darker reds speckled with black (my favorite)… you will find more in fountain creek near manitou springs… a little farther south.. :)

  8. Your work is beautiful.. It calms my mind.
    My oldest son balances rocks too. I love watching his whole body relax as he works with the stones.

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