Surprisingly, even in our driving age, there is much to see that is interesting under our feet. Alexander Dorosh from Osipovichi (Mogilev Region) has been gathering stones for the last five years .
Most people, ever busy, would think his hobby nonsensical: stones don’t become diamonds on entering the house. How can they understand that it’s a pleasure to spend time looking at stones, just as one might look at the fire or a flowing river. Each one is unique, having something to catch the eye. They bring to mind our ancestry and our inheritance of the earth, recalling where we were born and those who lived before us.
“I used to just look at stones; now, I study them more closely,” Alexander explains. “Sometimes, I simply want to take a stone into my hands, look at it, ponder its shape and beauty and return it to its place. Millstones are still found in Belarusian villages, shaped by masters who lived long before us and polished by time. The craft was well developed in our country, although many of its secrets are now forgotten.”
Alexander calls his hobby a whim: silicon, marble, granite and limestone can’t be referred to as precious or semi-precious stones. He has no plans to sell them and no buyers exist for such stones.
Taking a warm, heavy stone, I begin to scrutinise its veined surface. Did a glacier bring this stone from far mountains or did it develop in the hot depths of Belarusian territory? How many times have lizards and dragonflies basked upon its surface, and how many generations of our ancestors can it remember?
If stones could speak, they might have been the ones to prompt Alexander to create a model of Svislochsky castle in Osipovichi, founded in the 11th century on a high half-island, where the River Svisloch meets the Berezina River. It was once a residence of the Svisloch prince and an administrative centre during the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, as well as being owned by the Radzivills for some time.
Initially, it was made of wood but, in 1655, during the war of Muscovy and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, it was burnt down. Alexander spent around a year creating a model of the wooden castle. With the assistance of local historians, he studied documents, invented an original device to glue wood chips together and precisely recreated each detail… In 2004, the wooden castle moved to Svislochsky museum and Alexander took up new projects. All those who create wish to master new materials and techniques — their inspiration radiating like ripples from a stone thrown into water.