Tuesday, August 28, 2012


 “One day Persephone, the young maiden of spring, was picking wildflowers with her mother Demeter, the goddess of grain...The earth began to rumble. Suddenly the ground cracked open, splitting fern beds and ripping flowers and trees from their roots. Then out of the dark depths sprang Hades, god of the underworld...Hades grabbed Persephone and drove his chariot back into the earth. Then the ground closed up again, leaving not even a seam.”
             -Favorite Greek Myths, The Kidnapping p.35, retold by Mary Pope Osbourne
DAY 15, MONDAY: Mid 70’s. Mostly cloudy. Humid.
After the rain on Saturday
Before the rain on Saturday
Dearest readers,
Nature is fighting back, trying to reclaim the hole. A driving rain on Saturday, the first in the two weeks I’ve been digging, flowed sideways under the protective canopy, and poured down into the hole, dragging clay from the walls onto the floor, burying parts of the two rows of marble shards I had stacked up earlier in the day, and filling in 10” of the 18” smaller shaft with wet silt. When I arrived at the hole site, I was in “shock”.
But after a few minutes of whining, it was time to just surrender to what happened, instead of struggling with the way things were. I’m not often successful at this, but this time I was.
So...I got to work again.
2 new layers of marble
 First I removed the now caramel colored, formerly white marble shards that form the collar of stone around the rim of the small shaft. (I like the new earthier tint.) I positioned a temporary piece of wood over the little hole so I could have more space to put my feet. I dug out the two rows of the thin marble lining that I had laid on Saturday, leaving them colored brown, and scraped out a pail full of soil from the floor. I laid two new layers of marble, scraping the walls, and maneuvering around the boulders that stick out of the walls. The circle has become an oval.
Choosing the right sized shard
 Next, I arranged an assortment of the long marble shards along the rim, that Lianides, the Polish sculptor-in-residence let me use. These are discards from his megalithic stone carving in progress. 
Positioned along the edge like this made it easy for me to grab what I needed. I’ll have some help Tuesday and Wednesday I hope, when friends come and hand me the shards so I will not need to keep climbing out and dropping myself down in. 
Etta the Sculpture Dog
Etta is free to roam, but after a few days of exploring, she now chooses to rest nearby. One artist has dubbed her “Sculpture Dog”.
Tight space
 I don’t have a lot of room to bend down as I line the walls with the marble, but it is a peaceful process. Finding the shard with the most suitable height and width to ring the wall is a meditative, albeit dirty, trial and error process–like doing an earthwork jig-saw puzzle. Each shard has a long, flat top and bottom, and rough, slightly curved sides, about one or one and a half inches high. I'm stacking them on top of each other, alternating rows like bricks without mortar. It’s critical to be sure each row is secure before proceeding to the next level. Sometimes I need to chisel away an edge to create a better fit. None of the shards are the same size, edge or curve.
16" of marble lining
This is how I left the hole. I completed 16” of layered marble shards and managed to round out the oval somewhat. Rain is in the forecast. I tarped the hole this time. We’ll see what the space looks like when I return! Three more hole drawings below. I call them boat holes to appease the god of rain.
Boat Hole and Tunnel #2-9" x 12"-charcoal and pastel on paper
Boat Hole and Tunnel #1-9" x 12"-charcoal and pastel on paper
Boat Hole above a Black Hole in the Deep-9" x 12"-charcoal and pastel on paper

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