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Happy Accident  
by Ken Barnes

Not quite the one you'll find on a beach. Liberated from a basalt end cut, $100 at Marenakos. Sat in my sketchbook for 7 years; originally an appendage of a planned bench. I have had a hundred bench ideas, a couple of them even good, but I just don't seem to be a bench person. 
I sketch for them, and even buy the stone. Still, I'm benchless in Seattle.  Ken Barnes Tests the Load Bearing Capability of his New 20 Ton Crane

When SouthEast Effective Development (go to: asked that I propose an installation for their Rainier Court Pocket Park I pitched a three stone grouping that fit neatly within their budget, complete with plaster maquettes. I sensed there was some play with the budget, so I also offered a photocopy of my sketchbook page, bench cut out, and suggested that if they found more money I could add the clam. Not a great sketch, but it conveyed the character. They demanded the clam, while I raised the budget. My initial blocking out was done too hastily, and I missed the curve I thought I wanted.

However, the striations along the clam body saved me, really making the curve come to life. Another Happy Accident.
"Clam" Part of Igneous Emsemble", Basalt, 30" High

I depend upon the Happy Accident in my work. Serendipity. You must have a prepared and open mind to receive the Happy Accident. In fact, on pieces where there is no Happy Accident, where the piece turns out looking exactly like my visualization, I dislike the sculpture. Not enough surprise? Not enough interplay between me and the stone? Maybe I carve stone for the resistance, and if stones give in without a fight it's just not enough challenge? Do I dislike the outcome of my work if I have carved without a prepared and open mind?