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Stone Foundation Symposium 2010 Meets to Build & Learn in Ventura January 8-23

January 9, 2010

One hundred or more professional stone masons from around the world are converging on good old Ventucky, my home sweet home, to build something MASSIVE and WONDERFUL up at Grant Park aka “The Cross” and to teach and learn more about the ancient art of stone stacking and stone walling as well as stone carving.

Even the Big Monkey’s cousin Scott from Washington showed up, more or less out of the blue, with his significant other, stone mason Janine Hegy from Sequim Washington. This is the third Stone Foundation Symposium Janine has attended. She‘s been doing stone stacking for over 15 years, and a jeweler for many years before that; now she’s wanting to move more into stone carving and so she’s here to take an architextural carving workshop with Colleen next week. Pictured is an example of her boulder stacking–beautiful, isn’t it? I know I’m ready to hire her to do something here! Also pictured is bench project of hers.

This week, the emphasis of the 2010 Stone Foundation Symposium is on wall building.  Several Japanese masters, with generations of experience,  are in town, and have been for a few days. Yesterday morning they had a tea ceremony, then began building two walls and a staircase. Lots of friends from Art City crowded around the sire; my nephew Kyle, fresh from UCB with an engineering degree and no job in sight is helping out.

In stone stacking, walls and other structures like ancient castles and places like Machu Pichu are built without mortar. In a dry stack, everything is fitted together in such a way that in shifts in earth, water, other natural forces work with the wall to stay stable for centuries whereas mortar cracks. Stacking is a more green method of building because it doesn’t take anything: no chemicals, no mortar. It’s the oldest style of building on earth and examples abound because the structures have lasted. It typically uses locally sources rock; the project here will feature all local rock local sandstone.

Next week will feature an architextural stone carving workshop with an emphasis on flora and fauna by Colleen Wilson, and then the symposium of lectures will complete the two week event.

Each year, the Stone Foundation Symposium takes place somewhere around the world and they build and carve and socialize as well as learn. In previous years, my new friend Janine attended the Hood River OR Symposium then spent several weeks in Spain,  then went to Berry Vermont.  Last year they made this giant scrabble board with 10″ x 10″ letters!

“It’s just such a pleasure to be around like minded people,” she said. “The learning that is occurring is so nice. It’s all the conversations, and a way to interact with your mentors. Alan Ash is here,” she continued, “and he’s into restoration so he’s looking at restoring a fireplace from 1854 in the Dalles OR. To be in contact with him– it’s like a door is opening so it’s very good for my career.”

Primarily she  builds dry stack rock walls, benches, and patios, but she wants to expand her skills so she’s come to study with Nathan Blackwell (pictured here with Janine at a previous Symposium) who teaches lettering and Zack Zacovy from Boseman Montana who she met in Spain and has studeued with several times since, most recently in the previous month. Zacovy will lecture on his Meditation Garden and Stone Door (pictures by Janine). Janine also gave him design ideas for one of the segments of the Garden. Zacovy’s over work includes public art as well as private commissions including this “Waterfall Arch” at Great Falls Library where a sheet of water flows and kids can ride under it on their  bikes.

Fun and games are also planned–lithobolos (like bocce ball but with stone balls), the Famous Wheelbarrow Steeplechase, and drinking a special brew “Rocknockers Ale” at Anacapa Brew Pub.

So if you’re local, drive on up to the cross. Park just below and walk up to see the progress. I’ll try to post regularly about the project here–and I’ll let you know more about the Anacapa Brewery Rocknocker’s Ale too!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Renny Glover permalink
    January 12, 2010 9:26 pm

    Nice writeup, and great work shown in the photographs. My brother Mike from South Lake Tahoe, CA will be there for his first symposium and is really looking forward to it.

  2. January 12, 2010 9:41 pm

    Thank you! If I get a chance, I’ll say hi to MIke! The weather is fab right now also!

  3. Renny Glover permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:12 pm

    Hope that weather holds, lol! As bad as your area needs rain, tho, it would be hard to complain about it.


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