I started drawing patterns when I was very small, maybe five or six years old.
I was fascinated by the world around me, and especially by the numerous natural patterns in the world around me: the centers of flowers, a butterfly’s wing, snowflakes under a magnifying glass.
My earliest doodles were simple; as I aged they grew more complex. I found further inspiration not only in nature, but from one of my favorite toys: The Spirograph. Other kids drew houses, people and dogs—I drew patterns.
By the time I was thirteen, the drawings had become fairly complex. I would draw them on paper with the finest point black marker I could get my hands on, and then give them to family and friends to use as bookmarks.
For the past 40-odd years, I have added small versions of these intricate designs to greeting cards, envelopes and letters… and sometimes they have just “appeared” in my mind’s eye, during quiet moments.
My father and I would beach comb together when was little, and rocks were my favorite thing. Although the visual appeal of a rock does matter to me, my “relationship” with them is primarily kinesthetic… if the rock doesn’t “feel” right in my hand I rarely keep it.
One day– inspired in part by seeing photographs of some 1200-year old Viking designs on rocks, in part by a suggestion from my wife—it seemed like the right time to add one of my patterns to a rock, so I tried to do so. The result was… well… “interesting,” but not very appealing. The design was quite coarse and crude, and barely visible on the stone.
Countless experiments and changes have since been made to turn Alchemy Stones into what they are today: small works of art, each individually hand painted with a pattern that “fits” that particular stone.
There is no fixed approach as to how these patterns come about. I simply see them inside my head, then attempt to translate that vision into a drawing.
Creating an Alchemy Stone is a form of meditation; I find a quiet spot and focus on the stone, and most of the time it “tells me” what pattern is needed. Unlike things like automatic writing– which is typically guided by an external influence– the stone patterns come from within. I also continue to feel inspired– at least in part– by my cultural heritage, growing up in Denmark and feeling a strong Viking influence.
Humans have been saving, using and decorating stones for millennia. “Mystical” properties have been attributed to stone objects for almost as long as there is recorded history. We keep stones for luck, for power, for art and as metaphysical tools– we even bring them home as souvenirs from our travels.
Science is increasingly exploring the ways stones “hold energy” and even translate/transmutate energy. Paranormal investigators believe that the stone– of buildings, for example– can hold “residual psychic energy” of people and events. Combining these stone energies with the power of sacred patterns results in a powerful end result.
Whereas Alchemy Stones are essentially “art,” they appeal to us for a wide variety of reasons. Some keep them as personal talismans. Some people put them on their personal altars or sacred spaces. Some feel that gazing at the patterns aids with meditation and feeling grounded. Some give them as gifts to loved ones. Some simply find them pretty. Therapists and counselors keep them as “worry objects” for clients to hold during sessions. Some people use them for metaphysical healing ceremonies, based on the geometric symbols having power. Some leave them as “offerings” and “gifts” when visiting Labyrinths or sacred sites. The possibilities are endless.
About the Artist
Peter Messerschmidt is a writer, artist, alchemist, beach comber, rare stamp dealer and eternal seeker. When he’s not wandering the beach or the Internet, he can often be found at his work table, painting tiny patterns on beach stones. To learn more about Alchemy Stones, visit http://www.alchemystone.com, or see the current selection available from the online store: http://stores.ebay.com/Alchemy-Stones. Peter lives in Port Townsend, WA with the great love of his life and several furry “kids.”