Percariously placed rocks in Humber River perplex

The mystery of who is solved. The mystery of how, though, has onlookers scratching their heads.

Since 39 rock sculptures were found in the Humber River near the Old Mill on the weekend, 48-year-old Toronto photographer Peter Riedel has been identified as the creator.

What still has people like Scarborough resident Anne puzzling is just how they stay standing so precariously “without glue.”

“The fact that it’s balanced like that is amazing,” said Anne, who declined to provide her last name. “I can’t even balance a stack of boxes without it falling over.”

The trick to keeping the rocks standing on their own, Riedel says, comes down to practise and counterbalancing.

“It’s like fitting a puzzle together,” the sculptor said. “It’s all about aligning it until it stands pretty steady on its own, and so that it can hold another rock on top of it, and then another.”

The balancing rocks have been a source of intrigue for curious onlookers since they were discovered.

“This is quite an event and I can’t believe that someone has done that,” Etobicoke resident Donna Sideall said. “It’s so beautiful.”

Toronto resident Alex Maitland was speechless when he happened upon the sculptures standing in the river.

“I really didn’t have any words,” Maitland said. “It’s kind of breathtaking and it’s just amazing art that’s just kind of happened upon us.”

Riverside onlookers have been heard debating what they think the rock sculptures look like. That’s part of their appeal, Riedel said.

“Everyone sees something different,” he said. “It’s like looking at clouds: if the (rocks) end up looking like anything, one person may see something and another may not.”

It took about four hours to finish all 39 sculptures, Riedel said, with each one taking roughly 10 minutes to make.

After he lugged the heavy rocks into place, that is.

“Some are really heavy and I’m pushing my back to the limit,” Riedel said.

It’s this hard work, along with the relaxation that comes from being in such a picturesque setting, that drives him to build these sculptures, Riedel said.

“It always just ends up being a really heavy duty workout (combined with) something meditative and relaxing,” he said. “It’s a combination of yoga and weightlifting.”

Riedel said his inspiration for creating these sculptures came from seeing a man balancing rocks in Vancouver’s English Bay.

“The peculiar nature and that (the rocks) were doing something they shouldn’t be doing was fascinating,” he said.

Since he was outed as the Humber River sculptor, Riedel said people have been very complimentary about his work.

“The only time I really look at them is when I’m done and I just relax for a little bit and take a look,” he said. “And even to me, they’re even more bizarre the next day.”

About this article

By: Sarah Moore
Posted: Aug 5 2010 3:18 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life