The Art of Rock Balancing

Last Saturday at the Highland Center, I had the pleasure of taking a Rock Balancing Class with Lila Higgins, Rockbalancer. Lila presented a slide-show on the subject to an enthusiastic but skeptical group of amateurs. We were stunned at some of the photos she had taken of her work and the work of others. We suspected that super-glue or some other adhesive had been involved in the shenanigans. How could you balance rocks like that?

Rock balancing.

Rock balancing goes way back. We saw photographic examples of cairns, stacks, and other balancing sculptures, from England, Hawaii, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, Korea, New England and elsewhere. The Inuit people are known for their inukshuk stone figures representing human forms. Many of these stone constructions are sacred.

It takes practice, as we would learn. After the slide show, Lila led us to the brook behind the lodge. She had already constructed some examples for us. We started with stacking and then proceeded to the more difficult, balancing. As she said, even the roundest rocks have little nooks and crannies. Her advice was to concentrate on creating three points of connection–a triangle.

Rock art.

Some folks were more successful than others and it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. Each creation is unique. She explained the ethics of rock balancing. Use Leave No Trace tenets. Return the rocks to where you got them. Don’t move rocks that might impact wildlife.

Lila’s photo page displays much of her work. Bill Dan is a rock balancing luminary and one of the sources of Lila’s inspiration. Also, she spoke of Andy Goldsworthy, a British artist who works with site specific sculpture and “land art.”

 Lila Higgins balances.

Rock balancing is fun, meditative, and challenging. Lila was enthusiastic and did a great job explaining why she has a passion for it, as demonstrated through her own creations. I was so happy that I opted not to go on the hike up Mt. Willard (again). I’ve been there and done that. The rockbalancing was a blast. I might have to just take her course again at Kripalu Center in Lenox, the same place where Debbie goes for her yoga certification and inspiration. Of course, you don’t need Lila’s help. All you need is a couple of rocks. Go on, try it.

1 Response to “The Art of Rock Balancing”



  1. 1 site specific sculpture Trackback on 1 June 2008 at 7:45 pm

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