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13 November 2014

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You are in: Dorset > People > Your stories > Lyme's stone balancer

Stone balancing in Lyme Regis

Stone balancing in Lyme Regis

Lyme's stone balancer

It may seem like an act of magic, or the work of glue, but a stone balancer from Lyme Regis insists that his art is simply the work of physics, and a little patience.

Artist Adrian Gray has been developing his stone balancing art for many years and practices on the town beach at Lyme Regis.

He says: "It didn't start with a eureka-type moment. It just evolved from other art forms."

"I was on the beach and I was doing stone sculptures. I was trying to make stones resemble humans and as I was repositioning the heads, one of them balanced in such a way that I thought, "that doesn't look right", and the fact that it looked wrong gave it a sense of wonder."

Adrian goes on to explain his initial reaction to the illusionary quality of balanced stones.

He says: "My eyes are telling me that that's balanced, but my brain's telling me it shouldn’t balance."

Artist Adrian Grey at work

Artist Adrian Grey at work


In order for Adrian's work to provoke a truly jaw-dropping reaction from onlookers, he ensures that the balanced rocks have a small point of contact.

This is why many believe it to be the work of trickery, even when they've seen it done more than once.

Adrian explains: "They'll check for glue, or velcro, or magnets, or pins, or whatever else they think is doing it, and then finally they have to believe that it is just balanced there.

"Men and women see different things in it. A lot of women look at the spiritual side and the energies. Men always want to have a go and it's quite competitive for them."

"It's all to do with physics"

"It's all to do with physics"

"Gravity and friction"

So, how do the stones balance?

Adrian, who has mainly worked with stone throughout his art career, says: "It's all to do with physics. It's nature's glue as I say, so it's gravity and friction, but mainly it's just finding that centre of balance and positioning the stones in such a way that when you look at [them], it looks like magic."

"The balancing part is quite clever, but for me it's all to do with the composition of the rocks.

"Some stones work much better than others and I spend a great deal of time scouring the beaches looking for the right rocks."

Balanced stones - no glue involved

Balanced stones - no glue involved


Adrian, who also sells prints of his work, explains that stone balancing can be quite time consuming too, particularly when he is working with a group of stones.

He says: "It ranges from a few seconds or minutes, but there are some compositions that I've done where I have been completely obsessive about finding the balance, and it's taken me a few days to set up [depending on the weather and the tides].

"And of course you have to set your camera up first, because it might not last very long.

"I set up a composition on the beach and five minutes, or maybe an hour later it's gone."

last updated: 28/04/2009 at 15:55
created: 28/04/2009

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