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.
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 symposium of stonemasons.
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 4,500 and a quarterly publication, The
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 - April 2011
Much of what was envisioned at the outset has been realized.
(1) Ten issues of the Stone Foundation's highly regarded periodical
publication STONEXUS Magazine have
been published and distributed and an eleventh is now at the printers.
(2) This website, www.stonefoundation.org, an
informative and articulate public interface, has been established
and continues to evolve.
(3) Another website, http://thestonefoundation.ning.com/, aka
STONEMAD, functions as a stonework forum where Stone Foundation
members, current and prospective, can meet, display photographs
and engage in discussions about various aspects of the craft.
(4) The newsletter, stonetc.
. . which is a digital 'cousin' of the magazine is distributed
periodically to all members with email addresses.
(5) The two MEMBER DIRECTORIES at this website, one for Stonemasons and another for Associate
Members (Architects, Artists, Suppliers,
Quarries, Tool merchants, etc.) have made those listed, whether
individuals or business interests, accessible to a wider public.
The directory listings have proved to be successful in generating
not only contacts, but commissions and sales for those listed.
(6) A total of ten annual gatherings have been successfully organized
and taken place. The seventh, INTERNATIONAL
STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM 2007, was the first one to take place outside the United States
on the Island of Mallorca, off the east coast of Spain.
There was no Stonework Symposium in 2009 because of the experimental
scheduling of the annual gathering in the Winter. So STONEWORK
SYMPOSIUM 2010 took place in January in Ventura, California.
The next Symposium will also be scheduled in the winter, again, probably,
Ventura proved to be such a good match for the Symposium (see Stonexus
issue #X) that we returned in January 2011.
(7) The need for a hands-on Training Component was soon recognized
and the fourth annual gathering, STONEWORK
SYMPOSIUM 2004 was the
occasion of two workshops, a stonemasonry workshop and a stone
STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM 2006 included a dry stone walling workshop
(5 instructors and 28 students).
INTERNATIONAL STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM
2007 included a dry stone walling
workshop in the type of wall construction characteristic of the
SYMPOSIUM 2008 included three training sessions: a Dry
Stone Walling Workshop, a Stone Letter Carving workshop and a Traditional
Lime Mortar Workshop.
2010 included a Japanese Dry Stone Walling
Workshop and an Architectural Stone Carving Workshop.
STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM 2011 had an International Dry Stone Walling Workshop and another Architectural Stone Carving Workshop.
A committee has been formed to plan the Stone Foundation's training
program and more workshops are being planned, as well as a manual, "Elements
of Stonemasonry‚Äî a Best Practices Manual" to
be written by a team of Stone Foundation stonemasons.
(8) The Stone Foundation has been functioning as an information
clearinghouse and an agent of referral since its establishment
in November 2000.
(9) An on-line bookshop has been considered and may or may not
come to pass, but we do plan to compile an extensive bibliography
of relevant publications.
(10) The Stone Foundation is on the lookout for a physical center,
a quarry would be most appropriate, one no longer in use that might
serve as a "campus" and headquarters for the society.
Suggestions are welcome.
(11) Following STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM
2005, The Stone Foundation
underwent structural remodeling, adapting the conventional form
of a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)3 status; By-Laws, a Board
of Trustees, a Chairman, a Secretary and Treasurer. The goal was
to guide the Stone Foundation's continuing evolution into an entity
which will best benefit the craft of stonework and its advocates.
The Board and its officers made considerable progress before afflictions
characteristic of developing non-profit corporations took effect
and ruptured the board. The Stone Foundation survived though, as
stone foundations will, in a unconventional form that preserves
its original spirit which is more communal than corporate.
At the 2006 general membership meeting it was affirmed that non-profit
status was not ‚Äîat least at this time ‚Äîdesirable.
At the General Membership Meeting, Tomas Lipps, the Stone Foundation's
'Founder and Fearless Figurehead' was directed to continue to do
as he has been doing since 2000, editing, producing and distributing
STONEXUS Magazine, organizing the annual STONEWORK SYMPOSIUM and
managing the office. He was directed to establish a for-profit
entity and use the proceeds at his discretion to accomplish those
tasks. Income over expenses is to be considered fair reimbursement
for what has become, for him, a full-time job.
Accordingly, Stonexus Productions, LLC has been established. This
is the 'business arm' of the Stone Foundation and exists in a mutually
supportive relationship to the Stone Foundation community which
remains, as always, a de facto membership organization. As the
Director of The Stone Foundation, Tomas, with the assistance of
an Advisory Council, a Privy Council, and various volunteers, works
to guide the evolution of the organization and realize its mission.
STONE FOUNDATION ADVISORY COUNCIL
Doug Bachli, Stone Quarrier, Colorado
Blair Bates, Restoration Masonry Contractor, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Bill Braswell, Masonry Contractor, Delaware
John Burnell, Dry Stone/Restoration Mason, Ohio
Michel Giannesini, stonemason, Le Drome, France
George Gonzalez, Stonemason/Contractor, California
Scott Hawthorn, Stonemason, Decorah, Iowa
Frank Kane, Water Feature Design/Installation, Illinois
Vince Lee, Architect, Colorado
Patrick McAfee, Stonemason/Author, Ireland
Timothy Smith, Stonemason/Contractor, New York
Miguel Ramis, Stonemason/Stone Carver/Instructor, Mallorca, Spain
Richard Rhodes, Stone Supplier/Author, Washington
Richard Thacker, Stonemason, Georgia
Jayne Uhlir, Memorial Stone Restoration Contractor, Colorado
Bobby Watt, Restoration Stonemason/Contractor, Ontario, Canada
Jane Wooley, Landscape Architect, administrator, Kentucky
STONE FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES
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, stone work or stone
art is invited to join us. Please pass the word about the Stone
Foundation to others who might be interested.
The term of STONE FOUNDATION membership is 12 months dating from the date of registration, or renewal of registration.
Eventually subscription and membership will be separate and subscribers
will be able to receive the magazine without having to become members
and pay the full membership fee. Unfortunately that is not possible
at this time; only by charging the full membership fee is there
enough money generated to produce, print and distribute the magazine.