In May 2023, SCS hosted stone mason, carpenter, and sculpture and visual artist Randy Bollinger at Sea Pony Farm. Randy was interested in art school and how it could apply to his construction interest and attended the Art Institute of York - Pennsylvania in 1978-79 and was close friends and roommates with Eric Bealer. He remembers Eric always dreaming of being a homesteader in Alaska and Randy encouraged Eric to chase his dreams.
After his year at art school, Randy went to Florida to work on carpentry projects and experienced the decadence of high-end homes. He loved the craftsmanship associated with spiral staircases and other elaborate construction aspects in these home projects, but was captivated by the stone masons and learned an understanding of this craft by watching those workers. Randy has worked on and continues to work on masonry restoration projects for homes and buildings, fine art stonework, and masonry heating units. He is currently planning and replacing the buttresses at the St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Sitka, Alaska.
Randy's experience at Sea Pony Farm was very personal and allowed him to come to terms with the decisions the Bealers made. He really appreciated the opportunity to see what his friend had built and created, and said he is "happy to be promoting what Eric did." During is time there, Randy was inspired to build a table out of a spruce burl and recreated an aged gate, naturally carrying forward a similar aesthetic and way that Eric built things mostly by hand and sourcing from the surrounding natural environment.
Randy's creations became inspiration for other projects we did during 2023, such as moving the outhouse without rebuilding it and creating other new gates and fences, as well as our vision for future upgrade needs of the property. Eric and Pam Bealer strived to live a life here where they were as self reliant as possible, and used only materials they could gather from the surrounding environment. We aim to do the same, while also utilizing the best renewable energy technology, building techniques, safety considerations, and artistic expressions that will both keep the special aesthetic and feel of the property alive and also offer a safe, functional, and comfortable property as we can.
Randy is excited to come back someday and do a stone masonry project. If you would like to sponsor a future creative retreat at this property, donations can be made to SCS and our Living Wilderness Fund endowment. You can donate here. If you have questions or want to learn more about how you can support this project, contact [email protected].