Whether I’m creating new climbs or jewelry, sometimes I’m struck by the power of simple bold thinking. The most powerful elements of beauty, to me, always have concise, elegant, symmetrical lines. Some folks may deem them ordinary, but I believe that when you take perfectly simple things and pair or layer them, they contrast each other in a subtle way, magnifying the power of these basic shapes.
In search of simplicity I made a complex journey to the Aprpa Gorge in southern Armenia. It is famous for the incredible beauty of its basalt formations and is called a ‘sheeted dike complex’ in geology circles. The caves in this gorge hypnotized me; the strait repetitive lines combined with inverted basalt column staircases are like the frescos painted on the arching vaulted ceilings of the world’s religious temples.
We spent our time tracing routes slicing through these pieces of art, and finding new lines to draw. One day, while the thunderheads were dark and blustery, I racked tiny cams on my harness and wished hard for the rain to stay away. I launched up in to the unknown towards three hexagonal roofs. I was completely focused; with climbing hard enough that I neither noticed the weather, the place, nor the people. It was all about the inches in front of my face. I linked a series of three columns in a new route that joins crack after perfect crack in to a perfect, beautiful new climb. After building an anchor and finally able to take in the world around me, I was shocked to discover the sun had beat back the storm, revealing a golden evening light.
Returning to our hotel, replete with a wild multi-faceted, yet decidedly gaudy chandelier, I took a moment to reflect on the real joy and essential happiness I get from design. Whether it’s climbing a first ascent or making simple yet well-balanced jewelry from stones I find on the beach and sell through my company, suspendedstonedesign.com, - practice can lead to perfection. The route I created in Armenia, named Viper Bait in honor of the snakes that don’t bite us, reflects my appreciation and desire for an elegant, bold and strong design story – perfectly, beautifully simple.