The art of balancing rocks


Kev Potts

The world disappears as the feeling of weightlessness becomes real.  Holding the rocks in my hands, carefully finding their gravity centre to find the perfect balance.  The moment of release, to let go would surely see them fall but the moment is perfect.  Impossible yet beautiful, transient yet set in stone.

Where is the magic that holds the rocks in place?  It is in the rocks themselves.  The beauty of the physical world, our universe holds the key.  Gravity and friction are the glue required to hold my art in place.

I was introduced to the art of rock balancing by the great Adrian Gray who’s somewhat impossible looking work amazed me.  Whilst visiting the coast with my family I decided to attempt an impossible looking balance myself and found that not only could I stand back and feel a sense of achievement and pride but others too were to behold these rocks as surprising and inspiring.  For me, this is a large part of the reason that I have strived to develop the art to higher levels.  I enjoy being able to share these seemingly implausible works with those who happen upon them.  There is often a small window of opportunity to be able to soak up the vision of these structures as the elements are so easily able to overcome equilibrium and send the rocks back to the ground.  One of my first balances was knocked over by a small child who simply touched a rock and down they tumbled.  I was touched by the look on his face, the realisation that the vision of impossibility was as real as it looked and even the tiniest interference could take the wonder away.

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My love of photography offered the means to share these structures with the world, so for the last couple of years I have experimented with various styles of balance and light to help focus the look of the fine point of balance.

Since the British weather tends towards the cold and windy, I have recently decided to bring the stones indoors and experiment further with controlled lighting rather than using the stunning Dorset coast as the backdrop to my work.  This has evolved into a love for monochromatic images as I am fascinated by the contrast that the lack of colour provides.


It can seem that it would be very hard to balance these rocks, there is a skill to it that can be developed in time.  There must be 3 points of contact between the rocks for them to balance.  They could be far apart of close together but there must be 3.  As smooth as some rocks can look, there are tiny imperfections which I take advantage of to use as a cradle to balance in.  The more you can also rely on friction to help the balance the more extraordinary it can look.

Although I look at it as challenging physics, there is an element of performing the art that can almost clear your mind.  To concentrate your mind on the smallest possible point of balance and feel the way the stone wants to fall and making the tiniest of adjustments to centre the gravity will free you of any other thought.  The focus required clears the mind you have to decide yourself if it also inspires the soul.

Kev Potts

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