I am very honored to share the work and words of Heiko Brinkmann… another exceptional stone balancer who works and plays near Lake Constance, Germany. Ever since I began seeing Heiko’s work a few years ago, one word really sticks in my mind to describe his style… Elegance! However, his balancing is nothing short of masterful, graceful, and continually inspirational…especially for my own approach to my work… and I had the great pleasure of meeting Heiko and his amazing family in Italy last April (2012) during the first international BAWI… an experience that, as many know, will remain with me for life.
More of Heiko’s work and photos can be found here:
*** All photos in this post are under ownership and copyright of Heiko Brinkmann and require permission for use. Thank You!
GG: How long have you been practicing stone balance? Where do you normally practice?
I started balancing rocks in summer 2005. Since then I build stone sculptures almost every weekend.
The most time I work in a beautiful place at the Lake of Constance, in Langenargen, a village in the southern part of Germany. From time to time I practice rock balance without any audience in very lonely places along the river Argen.
GG: Please describe your first experience rock balancing. How did you first discover the art?
One day I found some balanced stones on a bicycle trip at the riverside near my home. I started myself with very simple stone stacks and was very surprised how much fun it was, because earlier I had heard of rock balance und thought it was a boring thing. Now I discovered the fascinating feeling of working with gravity and with age-old rocks. Sensing the acting forces, letting go at the right moment, stepping back and contemplating the figure – it was and still is a very special experience for me.
GG: Please identify one or more stone balance artists (if any) that inspired you initially and/or along your journey, and have contributed to your own style/interest/development with the art.
In the beginning, especially in the first year there was no inspiring rockbalancer. I used to look for interesting and/or beautiful rocks and then tried out what seemed to be possible for me. First I built simple towers, later more difficult figures. I played around with the stones and the important thing for me was that I liked it. My first photos on flickr in the web come from this period. There Renato Brancaleoni was one of my first contacts. Later I got to know the work of Bill Dan, Kent Avery and Volker Paul who impressed me.
The first BAWI meeting in Portonovo/Italy was a great experience. It was wonderful to see other artist and their work in real.
Today many rockbalancer are inspiring each other and the web is a great place to show ones work.
GG: Do you feel a spiritual dimension to the practice?
Yes, indeed, I feel this spiritual dimension but I just want to talk about it a little and very carefully because the words about spirituality often sound empty.
Something happens with me and the place I’m working at, mostly when I’m alone. I can feel it but can not put in into words.
GG: How has stone balance improved your life/ approach to life/ general well-being?
Rock balance in a natural environment with the forces of nature and earth has a relaxing and harmonizing effect on me. While balancing stones I am working on an inner balance between stillness and movement, tension and relaxation, holding and letting go. For me it is a kind of meditation. This enriches and improves my life.
GG: Do you think stone balance has therapeutic and/or academic applications? please explain.
Stone balance definitely has a therapeutic effect. The sensitization of all senses, the focussing on one activity and the concentration you need to bring the stones in balance counteracts the deflection and fragmentation of the modern life. Together with the positive feelings when the balance is done it strengthens the mental powers and has a healing effect.
Especially on children there are positive impacts. I’m thinking of Bill Dan and Volker Paul who are teaching children in the practice of stone balance and of Carlo Pietrarossi who works with patients in hospitals.
I can hardly imagine any academic application. For me the important point is to do stone balance, not to explore, explain or investigate. During the first years I didn’t want to talk about it, because I was afraid to destroy the experience.
But another point seems to be more important for me: Stone balance as an art form as we tried to express in the Manifesto of Stonebalance in 2012. The longer I practice stone balance in public the more I notice how impressed and inwardly touched some viewers are.
GG: Please offer some insight, if any, into how or why stone balance appears as a GLOBAL practice, despite geographic or cultural isolation.
I believe there is a great desire of many people to apply positive and constructive power to the negative and destroying energy around us. In my opinion the practice of stone balance has a great positive energy. Especially the world wide Balance Days and the international or local meetings like BAWI 2012 in Ancona or Ottawa have shown this.
I also think interest and participation in spirit (and in this case I don’t mean the electronic web) when somewhere in the world people meet to balance stones maybe together with other artist like musicians and dancers .. this has a great power.
GG: Lastly, please offer any comments/advice (if any) for beginners.
Some years ago I read some words I guess Bill Dan said. “Sometimes people make things too complicated. This is the opposite”
Everybody can practice stone balance, so try and have fun. And if you need some practical advice there are a few books such as “Center of Gravity“ by Peter Juhl.