One day during my thesis year at university, I happened across an interesting and exciting sight. The engineering school in a building nearby had a dumpster dedicated solely to the disposal of the concrete core samples created on-site. Someone had found a better use for them out back of the architecture building. Before my eyes was an array of cores ranging from fully intact, 8-inch cores on one side, to the smallest fragments on the other. In between was a smooth transition between the two extremes. This display sat out on a sidewalk and over many weeks, the 10-foot instillation slowly deteriorated as weather and passersby relocated the scraps of concrete. One night, I decided to repurpose the then almost completely destroyed assembly. Starting with the smallest bits at the eye, I spiraled the core fragments outwards until I completed the nearly 10 foot mandala form with a single intact core at the outer edge.

Arch2o-Pool, The Alchemy of Blue-Lizzie Buckmaster Dove (5)

Courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

We humans find immense pleasure in the simple act of finding and repurposing. I had a brilliant time making the spiral and never told a soul- but I would secretly smile every time I walked past and saw someone looking at it. To offer something new and unexpected from something so mundane was reward enough.

Arch2o-Pool, The Alchemy of Blue-Lizzie Buckmaster Dove (1)

Courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

The concrete spiral had slipped my immediate memory in the time since I left university. When I saw these images and read this artist’s story, it all came back and I think that secret smile crossed my face. Lizzie Buckmaster Dove is an artist living in the small, sea village of Coledale, New South Wales, Australia. A partaker of daily beach walks, she has for years picked and collected the varied items found along the way; predominant amongst these were sea worn stones, painted blue on one side. These strange stones turned out to be fragments from a seaside pool nearby, slowly being consumed by the encroaching waves.

Arch2o-Pool, The Alchemy of Blue-Lizzie Buckmaster Dove (3)

Courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

Collecting these stones with the help of a grant issued from the Australia Council for the Arts, Dove has created a series of instillations on nearby beaches and in museums, titled Pool, The Alchemy of Blue. They stand reverential to lunar cycles and the power and sway they hold over our planet and its oceans.

Arch2o-Pool, The Alchemy of Blue-Lizzie Buckmaster Dove (4)

Courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

Recently, a construction project was set to completely resurface the deteriorated pool and before the time was lost, Dove collected larger pieces which would eventually be assembled into a gravity defying cloud of concrete. Seemingly spewing forth from the ground, the chunks are hung from barely visible filaments within the Wollongong City Gallery.

Courtesy of Lizzie Buckmaster Dove

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