Inspired by rock walls we saw on a trip to Sundance, Utah, Janice and I started making "cement block & rock sculptures" during the summers and falls of 2001 and 2002. These cement block sculptures opened a door that keeps pulling us back...we keep intending to get back to making more of these sculptures...and we keep getting sidetracked and pulled away by other projects.
During the spring of 2008, I started fooling around with wiring rocks and broken broken terra cotta into bowls and various other shapes and objects. I seem to have a "knack" for pulling steel wire around stuff and then wiring that stuff together. By "knack" I mean that I can do stuff that works (i.e., doesn't fall apart, actually builds up to something) and I seem to enjoy this semi-difficult semi-tedious hand labor--although the wires tend to knick my hands up. Each rock presents a challenge in wiring or "caging" and I am obsessive-compulsive enough to enjoy doing this for several hours in a row--usually while watching something on the TV.
While working on a series of projects wiring rocks and stones together, I realized I could easily wire a "tube" or tunnel of rocks together...and the idea occurred to me that I could suspend such a tube of rocks in a hollow cube...and that this would be the "inverse" (sort of) of our cement block sculptures. Instead of rocks forming a hollow cavity or tunnel in solid cement, I'd have rocks forming a tube or tunnel in a hollow block. This idea and the image I had in my minds eye was very appealing to me, so I started thinking about it and working on it. I decided to make a branching tube of rocks that would fit inside an 8-inch x 8-inch cube--the same dimensions as our last set of cement blocks. I pictured the cube as being made of small metal rods...something I would probably have to weld together (I spent several summers in college working in a machine shop and doing stuff like welding, so I can see myself doing this). Maybe this is why we had never gotten back to making more cement blocks...I was waiting to be inspired by a whole new twist or approach.