Friday, 19 April 2013

Dream of Sculpture

     Reverently a young woman set a stone hand in my lap for me to give her advice on polishing it. The piece was beautiful – a surreal hand carved of red wonderstone. I thought at first it was the hand of a young woman. The stone was heavy and cool, the history of mankind cooled and condensed to a few heavy and very tangible centimeters. But it grew warmer on my lap. I felt the veins and tendons and ran my fingers along them appreciatively.
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Red Wonderstone is cream or yellow stone often with richly marbled in red or orange. It is very smooth and polishes like a semi-precious stone.
     The knuckles and top of the hand were cream coloured, but the stone whorled into deep red at the tips of the fingers and the heel of the hand. As in African serpentine, the red stone was much softer than the other stone, like a thick layer of fossilized clay on a base of onyx.
     In fact, this red dream stone wasn't really stone at all. The sculpture started to decompose as my hands closed around it. The base softening like papier mache in a puddle of blood. The fingers crumbled off.
I watched helplessly as the entire piece broke in half.
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The claylike red outer layer of some African serpentine can be inches thick. It is porous and can be scratched by a fingernail.
     The sculptor was pointing her finger at me. In fact there was an entire crowd of her friends in the room around us and they were all pointing wordlessly at me .
     "Why did you break it?" she asked softly.
     "It was coming apart as you put it in my lap!" I protested..
     "It is stone," she said, growing more shrill with each word.  "Stone is of the earth. There is nothing more real. How could it just come apart?"
     She turned away, suddenly cold as stone herself.
     Anger at her unjust accusation bubbled like lava inside me.
     I would never destroy such a beautiful thing.

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