Tom Small Sculpture

Architectural Fantasy

Fullscreen Gallery

Basalt Cobble Cities

I love aerial views of old hill towns. The houses flow in and out of each other, trapezoids breaking out of square grids because they have to move around their hills. Rivers make their routes through human environments and help us think back to a place once polished by glacial activity. The scale of the city pieces puts us at a great distance. We are aware of ourselves as observers of human activity and geologic time. We’re gods and children, making and crushing sand castles. The river moves past rising towers or broken ones. And us? We’re future and Anasazi, coming and going. Oregon Coast basalt cobbles are particular and they are magic. When the waves come up and pull back over them in a steep surf, the cobbles make a ringing sound.  How do you capture that?


I’ve added rapid and expressive to chipping and grinding.
I fight the temptation to soften raw edges. The idea of not sanding —of not taking sharpness away— feels counterintuitive at first, then intuitive. I puncture and break and leave my gestures and tool traces visible.

Stepping Out: the Process