A fascination with stone led to the creation of a series of local and international ‘stone inquiries’.
Stones are the stuff of legend. They have been worshipped, used for building, written upon and written with, they serve as tocsin (sounding stones), sign-posts, and are host to a wealth of biotic life.
The stone inquiries series began with the geological and mythic formations of the north shore of Manitoulin and the adjacent island infested waters of Georgian Bay. This is where two icons of Canadian stone meet, the glacial remnant of the Niagara Escarpment pushing north and the mass of the Canadian Shield flowing south.
Participants from across Ontario joined 4e and the i5 collective on 10-day to 3-week intensives: the first in McGregor Bay to learn about the fabulous pre-cambrian geology of the area; then to Italy to explore the marble quarries, murals, sculptures, and mosaics of Tuscany; and finally, to Malta, to learn about the megalithic stone temples built between 3600 and 700 BC.
Each program was a fascinating exploration of local history, stone/work and geology combined with talks by local experts, artist talks, semi-structured workshops, salon discussions, and studio time for participants to develop projects in response to site visits. The place-based inquiry focus was inspired by 4e’s approach to learning and artist V. Jane Gordon’s process through which participants are invited to explore sites through a range of modalities. As we went out and about to different sites (driving, training, boating and walking), we gathered, traced, touched, drew; we wrote, documented, reflected; we created installations, and site-specific responses. We experimented with and learned about environmental and site-specific practices and artists.