Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ugly Rock Piles

In the May issue of Martha Stewart Living, there's a profile of a landscape designer (Judy Tomkins) who has adopted as one of her "trademarks":

...stone arrangements, which she calls farmer's piles...She says she came across the idea...where large mounds of rocks were set aside for future building use;...

In other words, she saw a pile of rocks that was going to get used for other things, and decided to put piles of rocks in her landscape designs. Big, dense, ugly lumps of rock piles. Imagine a big wart made of rocks.

Rebecca and I agree: we hate "trademarks" that are ugly and stupid.

[caveat: for all I know, Ms. Tomkins is otherwise an absolute landscaping genius. Or maybe all her other rock piles are rustically charming. But based on this article and its picture, there is no one who's going to try to horn in on her "trademark".]

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Thalia said...

You mean that those rocks, the ones that farmers (especially in New England) dug out of their fields to be able to plow and harvest crops more easily, those pesky rocks that then were used to make fences to keep the livestock in, that interim pile of rocks is now a "trademark"?

DUDE. If I look at a pile of rocks and call it a trademark, someone shake me awake.

Sarah said...

If you want to see one of her "trademark" rock piles, check out the ninth picture in the slide show for the article.

Do you really "design" a rock pile? I mean, did she draft a plan for this rock pile? Did she hand craft each rock?

Then again, what of Robert Smithson's land art? Or Andy Goldsworthy's sculptures?

Thalia said...

You know, the other photos, I get her aesthetic. If I had the money, I'd have gorgeous old wooden furniture, hand-thrown pottery, and dogwoods and red-black tulips and whatnot. I like the whole indoors-mixes-with-outdoors vibe.

But I was sorely, SORELY disappointed in the rock pile. Yes, it's smooth, kind of like a cartoon free-hanging beehive (or like a paper wasps' nest). But for something made from stone, I think I look for more function. I'd prefer a "this is our pile of rocks for when we want to build that fence" instead - at least mice could live in it. It looks like a giant's toe-stubber. Maybe I'm just cranky, but it bothers me for some reason.

Thalia said...

And how could I *not* love Goldsworthy's work? Sheepfolds? Little stone bridges? Love it.

Maybe I like the playing-with-functionality a bit more there. I'm not sure.

p.s. does anyone else "sound out" the random letters for the word verification, or is it just me?