Elaine and Jim
Wolfensohn gift

Travelling exhibitions | Introduction | Blue case | Red case | Yellow case | Melbourne cup

Yellow Case: Form, space, design

John Edgar

Light stone

John Edgar Light stone 1993 greywacke stone, glass National Gallery of Australia enlarge

Artist's statement
' I strive to be self-sufficient in my craft; to be able to effect with my hands and my tools anything that my heart and mind can conjure. To leave behind small tokens of my love for this land of stone in the hope that each object might evoke the questions who made this and why, when, how, and where? These are the timeless questions asked of any object and in asking them one enters the mystery to a point of contact with the spirit of the maker. It is my desire to imbue my work with this spirit.'

Red eye and Light stone
Light stone and Red eye are greywacke pebbles with glass and jasper inserts. Greywacke is a base sedimentary rock that has been altered by heat and pressure during its time buried deep in the Tasman trench (between Australia and New Zealand). The material for the greywacke originated as eroded granite sediments washed off the great continent of Gondwanaland. Tectonic forces moved and deformed the Earth’s crust, and lifted the rock to form the base of parts of New Zealand. These pebbles come from the Hauraki Gulf near Edgar's home. In Light stone, Edgar has sandwiched slices of glass between the greywacke using epoxy glue to bind the surfaces together. Red eye has a jasper insert. The effect of these inclusions is to create another dimension or add a sense mystery to the pebbles; they are like talismans (sacred objects used in ceremonies) of an ancient people. Powerful and precious, they ask to be held and stroked, as if through contact their mystery will be known to us. 


  • Discuss how the two stones are similar and how they are different. Hold the stones up to the light. How do the inserts change what you can see?
  • Have you ever collected anything from your environment? What types of stones are in your local environment? What could you make with them?
  • Create your own talisman using found objects. What powers would your talisman have? How would it be used in ceremonies?
  • Find out about Gondwanaland. What countries were part of it?