TO HONOR stone, stonework, and stone art
TO CELEBRATE stone and the skilled and creative use of stone;
TO PRESERVE and PERPETUATE the time-honored craft of stonework, particularly structural stonework;
TO ENCOURAGE and INFORM a resurgence of interest in it through publications, workshops, seminars, symposia, etcetera;
TO RESEARCH and REPORT upon the history and culture of stonework;
TO EXPLORE and EXPAND the potential for principled applications in contemporary structures;
TO CULTIVATE an international community of stonemasons;
TO BE A RESOURCE and TO ENABLE information and experience to be shared;
TO EDUCATE stonemasons, professional and amateur, architects, contractors and the general public regarding sound practices and acceptable standards of workmanship.
The STONE FOUNDATION came into being in 1986 with a stonemasonry workshop in northern New Mexico. The title, an irresistible pun, was used to identify the group of friends and fellow stonemasons who comprised the team of instructors: Tomas Lipps of New Mexico, George Gonzalez from California, Joe Kenlan from North Carolina, and Toru Oba from Virginia. Sixteen novices were introduced to the craft during the course of a two week “apprenticeship.” Worthy projects—dry stone retaining walls and a spring house—were accomplished. As well as basic skills the novices gained an understanding of the fundamentals and an appreciation of some of the finer points of structural stone work.
Seven workshops have followed over a ten year period—in New Mexico, California, Ohio, South Carolina, Oregon, and Mallorca, Spain. The success of these workshops and the camaraderie experienced by the participants led to the concept of a gathering of stonemasons.
There is an organization known as ABANA, the Artist/Blacksmith Association of North America, which was launched at a ‘symposium’ of metalworkers—artisans and sculptors—which took place at Fire Mountain, GA in 1976. Currently it has grown to have an international membership of more than 4,000 and a quarterly publication, The Anvil’s Ring, which serves to connect and inform those involved with metal work.
Obviously something similar would benefit the craft of stone work and its adherents. An event was envisioned during which fellow stone masons (and others in related fields) from all over the country will have the opportunity to meet, to socialize and to discuss the craft; an event that would engender a structured, nationwide organization [with international associations] which will serve to connect and inform an extensive membership—the modern version of a medieval craft guild with a periodical publication, a directory of professional practitioners, educational resources, an on-line forum, information clearinghouse, and book shop, subsequent gatherings and eventually, perhaps, a physical center.
This vision remained a vision for years until late in 1999 when, energized perhaps by the contemporaneous millennial zeal, Tomas Lipps finally took the initiative to realize it. He planned and publicized STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM 2000 and it came to pass—with remarkable and spirited success—in November 2000. About 70 or more advocates and practitioners of the craft convened and communed in Santa Fe New Mexico and THE STONE FOUNDATION was formally launched. Its stated mission: “to preserve and perpetuate the traditions and the craft of structural stone work.”
Metaphorically, THE STONE FOUNDATION has been the nexus of a network which has formed and which continues to grow and evolve; a network by means of which communication occurs, information is exchanged and appreciation is nurtured.
UPDATE, October 2021: Much of what was envisioned at the outset has been realized.
1.) STONEXUS Magazine: Nineteen issues of the Stone Foundation’s highly regarded print publication have been published and distributed and an 20th is now in production. Contributions of articles, photos, ideas, suggestions of interesting previously published material (and, of course, money) are welcome.
2.) STONEZINE: The digital counterpart to the STONEXUS Magazine is published twice annually. ALL members have access to ALL editions of STONEZINE (there have been 20 editions published to date).
3.) WEBSITE: www.stonefoundation.org, the organization’s public interface, has been established and continues to evolve. (Volunteer help here is welcome.)
4.) STONEMAD FORUM: Another website, http://thestonefoundation.ning.com/, functions as a stonework forum where Stone Foundation members, current and prospective, can meet, display photographs engage in discussions and exchange information about various aspects of the craft. Participants are principally hands-on stonemasons, wallers, carvers and sculptors. This Forum has been idle for a few years as participants have drifted to the popular and well-populated Facebook groups. We are considering removing it but for the present are maintaining it as a source of select photos (over 3,000 have been posted there over the 16 years it was active) and videos which were featured in the last edition of the digital STONEZINE and will be featured in editions to come. Those wishing to visit the forum can request access from tomas-at-stonefoundation.org
5.) STONETC: The Stone Foundation’s newsletter. A digital edition is distributed periodically to all members with email addresses and a printed edition is mailed out with each issue of STONEXUS.
6.) THE ON-LINE PROFESSIONAL MEMBER DIRECTORY: at www.stonefoundation.org is currently being revamped. Visitors will have the opportunity to consult the Directory to find Wallers, Stonemasons and Stonemasonry Contractors, Stone Suppliers, Quarries, Tool merchants, Architects, Artists, etc.
Professional level members only can be included in the Directory. These listings have proved to be successful in generating not only contacts, but commissions and sales for those listed. The members listed in the Professional Members Directory sample, Zach Johnson and Karl Kaufman report that they have not received large amounts of spam email as a result of being listed.
7.) STONEWORK SYMPOSIA: A total of seventeen annual gatherings have been successfully organized and taken place. The seventh, INTERNATIONAL 2007, was the first one to take place outside the United States on the Island of Mallorca, off the east coast of Spain. Due to the Covid19 Virus it was necessary to cancel the Symposia planned to occur in Santa Fe in 2020 and 2021 (the 2020 event would have been the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Stone Foundation) .
8.) TRAINING: The need for a hands-on Training Component was soon recognized and the fourth annual gathering, STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM 2004 was the occasion for two workshops, a Stonemasonry Workshop and a Stone Carving workshop. Every Symposium since has offered workshops in various aspects of stonework including Dry Stone Walling, Architectural Stone Carving, Stone Letter Carving and Lime Mortar Stonemasonry.
9.) FOUNDATIONEXUS: The Stone Foundation has been functioning as an information clearinghouse and an agent of referral since its establishment.
THE STONE FOUNDATION is more than an organization. We are a society, a community, a tribe. The core constituency may be artisans, artists and contractors, but anyone involved with or interested in Stone, Stonework or Stone Art is invited to join us.
The term of STONE FOUNDATION membership is 12 months from the date of registration, or the date of registration renewal.
Please pass the word about the Stone Foundation, its publications and its activities to others who might be interested – we, and they, will thank you.