Black Surfer

As an idea, Black Surfer came suddenly to life recently when I "pitched" it with a heavy hammer from a large mass of basalt I was shaping in the high desert. The chip was the size of a small to medium-sized spear point, not straight like a real point but wave-like and crescentic, sharp along one edge like a jagged scimitar and perfect for cutting some kinds of things.    

Suddenly, it felt as if I were scooping stone from the rock instead of chipping it, as if the chips were ice cream and I was serving it.  In an instant, literally in a single stroke, the chips themselves became as interesting as the craters they left behind, which were their perfect opposites.

I put down the hammer, picked up the chip, and imagined Black Surfer. From that moment on, I took care of my chips and brought the best ones home.  And I worked to learn to pitch "on purpose" - - to make chips I wanted to make.

Black Surfer wasn't the first chip to attract my attention in the desert.  But it was the first to command me to carve it.  

Photos by Lee Gass