Rocking out: Creating art through nature

Stacks of rocks have been scattered around Pierce College since the beginning of fall quarter. Student Grace Thomas explains why she stacks the stones and her inspiration.

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Katie FentonOnline Reporter

They’ve been sitting in the same spot every day since fall quarter; unmoving structures, the stacks of rocks in the College Center courtyard have people wondering why they’re even there in the first place.

Student Quentin Werdell said the stacks could be an art project, while geology lab assistant Brandon Voelker said he’s curious about the rocks but doesn’t know who’s stacking them.

The stacks seem to appear randomly. At approximately 2:13 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, the rocks were knocked over and scattered across the courtyard. Later that day, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the rocks were arranged in their pillars. It was as if someone had prepared to play Jenga and then abandoned the game.

After speaking to multiple students about who was stacking the rocks, a name finally popped up.

Running Start student Grace Thomas has been stacking the rocks along with her friends and one of the groundskeepers, Keyth Mallam.

“The first time I saw Mr. Keyth, he was hovering over one of the cement blocks outside of the commons stacking rocks,” Thomas said. “When I asked him what his deal was with stacking rocks, he stood up and said one thing: ‘Andy Goldsworthy.’ Removing his gloves, he pulled out a small notepad and a pen, wrote down the name, ripped out the page and handed it to me. Andy Goldsworthy.”

Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist who incorporates nature in his work. He uses flowers, sticks and rocks to create unique structures in the natural world.

While Thomas isn’t looking to make a statement with the rocks, she does hope that students will recognize the beauty around campus, she said.

“The rocks are merely an appreciation of nature highlighting different areas of the campus,” Thomas said. “For example, if you go to the front of the administration building there is a large stone with the top carved out. Resting in it are a few stacks of rocks. It’s something that a lot of people never notice, but it’s there. My hope is that others start noticing how beautiful the campus is through these simple stacked stones, and maybe even take part in adding creativity.”

Thomas encourages others to look up Andy Goldsworthy’s work and use it as inspiration.

“His ability to turn rocks, leaves, sticks, snow, and ice into beautiful, temporary pieces of art helped bring me to the realization that the simple things in life won’t last forever, but they sure do make a difference,” Thomas said. “In the same way, Mr. Keyth decided to add a little more beauty to the campus, even if it only seemed to be in a small way. Now, if the wind or rain knocks over one of Mr. Keyth’s rock stacks, I take a few moments to pick it back up. Other times, I create stacks of rocks myself. If students purposefully knock over the rock towers, it isn’t a huge deal. After all, they were bound to fall over anyways, and that’s when you find the beauty in change.” [/responsivevoice]

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Rocking out: Creating art through nature

by Katie Fenton time to read: 2 min