Studio Location #2 / Lutz Building
The Stone Catcher
Installation by Joan Malkerson
When I was a small child I lived in the mountains at my Grandmother’s cabin. There my sisters and I played with stones. We collected the beautiful white and pink quartz to make stone drawings on the ground. With hammers used by archeologists we opened different stones to see
what was inside....often mica or fool’s gold. We scratched the stones onto the granite rock to make different marks. All day long we would play in the summertime on the large rocks and name them; Steamboat, Chipmunk, and Waiting. These large tumbling forms were over 25 feet tall and we climbed and played all over them. Stones were part of my growing up.
As a young teenager I climbed the tallest peaks of the Rocky Mountains over 14,000 feet high. Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountain National forest was the greatest challenge. Every time I climbed, a tiny stone would end up in my pocket. I collected little moments of time.
My academic studies took me into the the Philosophies of the world. Again, I found a strong association with my life with stones, specifically the Philosopher’s stone.
This life long love of stones continues in this installation which speaks to the power of stones as a metaphor. The stones collected by the Stone Catcher are symbols of pain, injustice, sorrow and grief. The black woman in the Alabama courtroom does not have a name, but her grand son was murdered by two young boys. She grieved and cried for the loss of her beloved grandson. Another woman sat by her side, they never talked, but she knew that woman understood and felt compassion for her sorrow.
When the trial was over, the two boys were sentenced to life in prison. That moment is when the grandmother understood her mission. She
empathized with the grief of the parents and family of those boys. So, she decided to sit in the courtroom with grieving families or friends of the victims and the perpetrators. She catches the pain of sorrow and injustice, she catches the stones.
I hope more of us can understand, have compassion and empathize.
Be a stone catcher.