GREENVILLE — Sterling Gregory has only been in Greenville several weeks, and he’s already making friends.
His talent as a rock balance artist is getting the attention of passersby when he’s at work in local streams.
“One hundred percent of people balance them; only a handful are doing it to make a living,” said Gregory, who does some rock balancing of one sort or another every day.
It has not come to that point for him.
“I do it for the enjoyment,” he said.
He learned the art of rock balancing through Michael Grab and his association with Gravity Glue.
“He inspired me,” Gregory said of Grab. “I have not met him in person but I probably will be.”
Gregory said balancing rocks is good for him.
“It connects me to being alive and free and definitely with nature,” said Gregory.
He recently moved to Greenville to stay with his sister and brother-in-law, Savana and Ben Shaltry, and their children.
“I have visited here before, but my life took a turn a few weeks ago and they put me up,” he said. “I’m loving it here. The day I got here, I started balancing in the creek. I went up and down the creek from the train track bridge to there [Swinging Bridge in Greenville City Park]. There’s a fine line between overdoing it and doing it where it’s enjoyable.”
His intention, he said, is to beautify his surroundings as he works with the rocks.
“It should be appealing to look at, and it is in permanent art form,” he said. “I collect a few rocks here and there, but I have a good collection now with plenty to work with. I try to get in tune with new stones and rocks, checking out their weight and getting a feeling for them.”
While working, he enjoys the sounds and sensations he gets.
“I get in a meditational state of mind,” he said. “Creating them, I get good energy in my mind. It’s all about friction and gravity.”
He said he spent hours on one balance in the learning process, then he eventually figured out how to let that happen.
“I’m also a visual artist and I have abstract drawings,” he said. “I balance rocks daily, weather permitting, then I do it inside. I have a strong passion to do it.”
He said the love of rock balancing culminated over the years.
“When I was in my early 20s, I started to feel a little more connected with my true self and spirit,” said the 33-year-old. “No two rocks are the same. They have their own essence. I enjoy the impact it has on other people who experience it. It is available anytime and it’s free.”
“I would love to teach, travel and spread the love of what it can do for a person…what it’s done for me. I’ve come a long way with the balance and I still do drawings I’ve had the pleasure to be able to sketch balances by some of the most inspiring artists from around the world on their birthdays. I have hopes of getting these to their owners eventually one way or another. It has helped me want to pursue live sketches of my balance work which could utilize some other abilities I can bring to the art form. Greg Schäuble is an amazing balancer and has requested this pen drawing of his work. I’m honored that he and his wife want to display it in their home.”
One night this week, Gregory said he waited for the wind to die down and he headed for a bridge nearby on Water Street.
“I wanted to beautify the area,” he said. “What was neat was I was picking up trash. I went for a quick delicate balance after the wind died down. Filled another bag of junk and left a few random balances around to find. Good times! That goes hand in hand with the beautification of the area.”
Born and raised in Dayton, Gregory said he is laid off from his job as a window cleaner in Dayton as is usual in the wintertime, but he plans to go back to work when it resumes but continue to stay in Greenville.
“I have a lot of re-evaluating to do,” he said. “That’s what I love about balancing. It teaches you to understand life. It’s active meditation without realizing it’s happening. An ultimate chain of events seem to be on a path for me. A self-discovery type of things culminated for me in recent weeks. Now, there is no holding back. Go for it. Create art and inspire passion for living a great life through experiences.”
Gregory said he participated in the artisan stroll two years ago in Greenville, sharing a space with his sister.
The first thing he ever made via rock balancing was at Carriage Hill at Huber Heights.
He said people stop and watch him at work, and he doesn’t mind.
Sure, the wind plays a big role in whether the rocks stay where they are placed, but he is okay with that.
“I like for them to fall so I can make new ones,” he said. “I can do high towers, tiered. I can take them 10 feet high if I want.”
He described rock balancing as “more of a collaboration with nature, not destruction or messing with nature.”
Working on one formation could take three minutes or it could take an hour, he said.
“Last year I was invited by the kind folks of ThinkTv to do a interview about my art and balancing,” he said. “It was an amazing experience and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity. They did a great job! Hopefully it can shed some light on who I am and what art and balancing means to me.”
He made this comment on his Facebook page when he first came to the Treaty City:
“In less than a week of balancing around my new residence in Greenville Ohio, I have been receiving more support for my passion than ever. I am truly honored to have so many rally in support of this art form. It is amazing to get such a warm reception here. It is really humbling to read all the kind words regarding the positivity it can bring to a community. I can’t thank everyone enough for all the awesome feedback! I look forward to growing with my work here. I’m loving it!”