Today’s post is a guest blog by my mermaid sister Celia Gregory. She is the founder of The Marine Foundation who I have been working with on their creative Living Sculptures in the Seas programme. At 6Heads we are in love with projects that find innovative and unusual approaches to sustainability. The Marine Foundation uses stunning visuals and creativity as a catalyst for marine conservation and coral regeneration. The interactive sculptures combine innovative theories of coral gardening, artificial reef, fish habitation and coral stabilisation whereby serving two functions; to look stunning and restore damaged marine eco-systems; facilitating eco-tourism and sustainable sources of income for the local communities.
Here is a reminder that we can connect with the sea wherever we are – a little challenge for us all this weekend perhaps.
Returning to the Sea
(In the Mountains)
Guest blog by Celia Gregory, Founder of The Marine Foundation
A hard hat, fluorescent coat and a belt with a metal device that will give just enough air for an hour if the mountain collapses seems a far cry from a life aquatic (aside from the potential restricted oxygen supply). Yet I am standing at the entrance to a billion year old seabed, once alive with sea creatures swimming in warm waters.
Precariously positioned on the edge of a mountain in Colorado is a Marble Quarry, that has recently been reopened and is producing some of the finest white stone in the world. I feel my synapses sparking as i connect my love of sculpture and sea, in this most unlikely location
The Living sculptures in the Sea program is always seeking new ways to be innovative and when we were invited for a tour of the quarry by Sculptor, Greg Tonnozzi, we accepted. Architect, Rally Dupps joined us in a work jeep covered in marble dust.
What we were shown by our exuberant italian guides; Daniele Treves, General manager and Stefani Mazzucchelli, Quarry master was a highly efficient and mechanised operation, meaning there is almost no wastage. It was like walking through time and my excitement for being under the sea was equalled by my excitement for this gorgeous stone, made from the creatures of the deep that have been crystallised over millennia by immense pressure.
Their passion for the marble was magnetic and I was eager to hear them talk of the efforts they are going to, to keep this operation environmental. I was impressed to hear they are planting grasses and scrubs to prevent erosion on the mountain sides, so in a few years visual evidence of the mining and the scares will be erased. They insure the oil tanks that feed their generators have a double layer so even if there is a leakage, oil will not seep through and contaminate. All the water they use is contained and reused, none flows into the icy and racing Colorado rivers. Here lies another wonderful returning to the sea. Colorado is the start of two of the great American rivers; Rio Colorado eventually flows into the Sea of Cortes and the Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico. Well they should do, taking with them vital nutrients, but only a dribble makes its way to the Sea of Cortes and it was only last year that an intervention momentarily allowed the Rio Grande to connect to the Gulf of Mexico. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2014/05/19/a-sacred-reunion-the-colorado-river-returns-to-the-sea/
A sculptor created this perfect marble sphere and left it at the bottom of the original marble quarry that is now closed. Daniella explained that this quarry will be submerged in water in only a few years.
The quarry was first discovered in the late 1870’s providing marble for the Lincoln Memorial in 1916. The quarry closed in 1941, re-opened in 1990, and has gone thru a number of owners non with any great success. In October 2010, Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy, purchased the operation, and production started again in January, 2011. The focus is to change quarry methods to reflect the Carrara, Italy quarrying techniques.
I first learnt about Carrara marble from the very talented sculptor, Stephen Cox’s, who’s work i adore, and it was from him directly that I learnt how a sculptor feels passion for his material. It was also the works of Henry Moore and in particular the wonderful Barbara Hepworth that birthed my love for the 3D form.
Corals love to settle on Calcium carbonate and surprisingly this stone will make the perfect material for a Living sculpture in the Sea. These ancient sea creatures returning to the sea, flowing down rivers, taking the heart of the mountains back to the sea to give life to the underwater animals. The concept rocks my world.
Celia Gregory – @themarinefounda
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