|A marvelous skull shaped rock covered in paprika and grey colored lichens on the banks for the Brockleburn River|
|A pretty green stone from the Brockleburn River|
|My first collection of stones on the shore of Lake Wakatipu|
|Flying in to Queenstown over Lake Wakatipu|
|Braided patterns on the Dart river I took from a helicopter|
|Stones on the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy|
|The Reese River flows parallel to the larger Dart River before merging at the north end of Lake Wakatipu|
|The Glenorchy Boardwalk|
|The Reese River braids its way to Lake Wakatipu|
I destroyed a few durable shopping bags collecting stones and carrying them the long haul back to and area where I would later begin to mock up sample mosaic designs. I didn't have access to a car on this first trip so a lot of the collecting I did had to be carted on foot. It is imperative to me that I leave no discernible impact on the landscape when I collect stones. It there is life attached to it I leave it where it was. If the shape is not what I am looking for, I will put it back in the indentation from where it came. This can sometimes lead to picking up the same rock later to inspect it again.
|Selected stones from the Reese River chosen for their shape and character|
|A temporary blessing starburst mosaic that I built outside the gate of the construction site of Camp Glenorchy made from stones picked from the parking area|
|I've been gleaning the usable stone from the construction site to use later in the mosaics that will ornament the paths|
|Pebbles and stones on the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu|
|A campfire ring along the shores of Lake Wakatipu|
|Walls built by a man as a form of therapy in Glenorchy. I love the built in seat.|
|A schist bedrock formation on the slopes of the Wyuna Preserve|
|Exposed Schist with veins of white quartzite from a quarry on the Wyuna Preserve|
|Beautiful lichens growing on Schist|
|Old Schist walls from a ruined building in Glenorchy|
|A beautiful Schist boulder near the Glenorchy Library|
|Large stones stockpiled in the storage yard at Camp Glenorchy|
|Riding up in to the Richardson Mountains with Ruth Ann|
|Flattened oil drums clad a simple miners hut|
|The rustic interior of a miner's cabin|
|A restored battery where sheelite was processed and bagged for transport|
|An interpretive sign shows the process used to screen, crush, and roast sheelite to remove impurities|
The flora of New Zealand is fabulous, most of it indemic to the islands. Flax (Phormium tenax) and Hebes and Sedges frame cascading streams in rich textural blankets. I hope to tap in to the essence of these iconic local landscapes to embellish the edges of the paths I'm building for the project.
|Flax and Hebes frame a small cascade in the foothills of the Richardson Mts.|
|Beech forest along the Sylvan Lake trail in Mt. Aspiring National Park|
|The Brockleburn River flows down from the Richardson Mountains|
|Colorful lichens on a schist boulder on the banks of the Brockleburn River|
|Quartzite stained with mineral iron glows with rich oranges, reds and yellows|
I'm hoping to introduce stone cobble in to the framing of the parking areas at Camp Glenorchy. I've always loved the look of old cobbled roads that I encountered in Europe and colonial South America but have never had the opportunity to build such a thing. If thicker stones are carefully laid to form a flat surface in finely crushed rock, they would create a durable, permeable pavement that can handle the weight of heavy vehicles.
|A cobbled road in the old mining town of Igatu in Bahia, Brazil|
A seven circuit walking labyrinth edged in gathered stones on a slope near a charming cabin was created by Auckland based artist Caroline Robinson. Caroline and I are working together on the Braided Rivers project and engaged in conversation and ritual during the 3 days she was in Glenorchy. She had visited the Halls Hill Labyrinth that I had built for the same clients on Bainbridge Island in Washington. It was a beautiful day and our group walked the seven circuits with reverence and intention. My wish is to incorporate ceremony and frequent blessings into the development of the projects to keep them meaningful.
|Carolyn Robinson's Labyrinth at Punatapu|
|The first sandbox I built is framed in logs scavanged from a woodland next to the golf course, braced with stones I found on the site.|
|A stepping stone I created in a form at home for a garden project|
|A path of mosaic stepping stones I built in a client's garden last year|
|Green stone river channels flow around a star burst, creating an eye|
|Braided River mockup|
In the second sand box, I built a set of starburst mosaics using stones that taper to a point at one end. These can be laid like slices of a pie to create rings of radiating stone. As the cluster of starbursts grew larger the results were visually exciting. I posted a photo that evening on my Gardens by Jeffrey Bale page on Facebook and it went viral, having 180,000 views in two days. I envision using this kind of pattern at the junction of three or more paths, where the lines can point you off in a number of directions. I will also be building a pad for a telescope for viewing the brilliant night skies found here.
My first donations of stones arrived. A woman who works in the General Store brought me a few beautiful pink veined stones from the Shotover River in another valley to the east on the other side of the Richardson Mountains. I'm excited to explore this area when I go back in December.
On my last day in Glenorchy we drove up the Reese River to Diamond Lake to meet the people who own the expansive sheep ranch at Paradise. This area gained international fame as the setting for parts of the film series Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Most recently the pastures above Diamond Lake were the site where a group of women lived in shipping containers in Jane Campion's six part series, Top of the Lake on Netflix. There were film crews working in the area the day we came up here. The Dart River winds its way up in to Mt. Aspiring National Park between breathtaking mountains.
This was an incredible day for me because we drove up to a slope where vast amounts of tumbled stone deposited by flash floods is spread out in a wide area. The owner of the ranch gave me permission to collect stone here. There are lots of flat shapes, perfect for mosaic in a freshly distrubed area so that I wont disturb any life forms as they haven't had time to establish themselves. I get the sense there is far more stone here than I will need to do the entire project.
|A slope covered in tumbled loose stone deposited by a flooding intermittent stream|
|A more detailed view of an area where I will be collecting stone for my pebble mosaics|
Its yet to be seen what I will be able to create in Glenorchy over the next few years, but I'm excited by the possibilities. One of my favorite mosaics is one I built over a decade ago to look like the sea below the garden I built it in on Puget Sound. I sorted out various shades of green stone collected from the beach there and set them in undulating waves. I made orange red starfish that I could see crawling across the rocks in the clear water. For me it captured the essence of what I was trying to allude to. I hope I can create something that captures the soul of the braided rivers at the Head of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy as well. It all relates to the way we flow through life. I will always be collecting stones.
|The water mosaic at Windcliff on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State|
Thanks for reading, Jeffrey