In the majority of her works Holt also works with astronomers who can help her with the movements of the stars and revolutions of the earth, sun, and moon; for example, the extreme solstice position of the sun, constancy of the moon, and constitution of true north. At Western, Williard Brown helped her find the North Star Polaris with which to align the arches within the heavy walls of Rock Rings. However, Holt knew that just as Stonehenge does not work accurately anymore, she cannot be strictly dependent on Polaris being the North Star. Therefore, she is not interested in the literal readings of astronomy but rather its metaphoric nature and what it can imply for her structure.
The shape of the circle is present not only in Stonehenge, but also in the past amphitheaters of the Roman Empire, the ring forts of early Christian Ireland, and the medicine wheels of the Plains Indians. After Holt built Rock Rings, she was not surprised to find that centuries ago the Native Americans of Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) had repeatedly aligned some of their domestic buildings with the North Star. The circles in Holt's own work appear early as "locators." These were actual tubes that extended a person's eyes; light in the pipes reflected as if a mirror and also brought back physical images. In Rock Rings this zone of vision has been enlarged to become an architectural type of space. The functional windows pointing northeast, south west, east, west, southeast and northwest allow the viewer to be a part of the landscape. The openings make the spectator aware of the real time in his circling paces. Both circumambulation inside the two rings and alternating sights outside place the spectator into a cycle of time larger than himself.
Just as the mason Al Poynter stated that he could return someday and say he was " . . . inside those walls, somewhere," Holt started only with her own interior reality and built a quiet chamber in the south fields away about the order of the universe. As she has stated, "even when we think in celestial terms, there is still indefiniteness.
© Sarah Clark-Langager