Stone by Design: The Artistry of Lew French

Overview

When Lew French made his first stone fireplace at age nineteen, he didn't expect to feel so drawn to the simple material. Twenty-eight years and countless projects later, he still feels awed by the presence stone has in a well-designed setting, whether it's an artfully rendered remodel of a writer's stone studio, a playful fireplace, or a carefully crafted garden pathway.

This first collection of French's work, filled with artistic inspiration for your own home or landscape, is ...

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Overview

When Lew French made his first stone fireplace at age nineteen, he didn't expect to feel so drawn to the simple material. Twenty-eight years and countless projects later, he still feels awed by the presence stone has in a well-designed setting, whether it's an artfully rendered remodel of a writer's stone studio, a playful fireplace, or a carefully crafted garden pathway.

This first collection of French's work, filled with artistic inspiration for your own home or landscape, is a study in contrast: contemporary hearths of rustic slate, sculptured walls of both great granite slabs and stacked, rounded fieldstones.

More than 130 gorgeous photographs by Alison Shaw illustrate the beauty of French's pieces and invite you to see how rounded fieldstone, grey slate, rough granite, and even curvy driftwood, are incorporated into stunning pieces of functional art. Throughout, French narrates the charming stories behind the projects: how an idea came to be; how a stone-splitting technique is executed; even how one of his most difficult pieces, a three-year-long project, was saved from ruin just in the nick of time, the day it was completed.

Stone by Design is the perfect inspiration for anyone interested in adding the beauty of stone to their own home or landscape.

Lew French was born in a small farming town in southern Minnesota, called Zumbrota. He started to work with stone when he had a small construction crew right out of high school and built one or two houses a year. He moved to Martha's Vineyard twenty years ago, and has since worked on his own stone designs exclusively. His work has been featured in many publications, including The New York Times and House Beautiful. French was also featured as a Modern Master on the premier season of "Modern Masters" in the House and Garden Network. French lives with his two sons, Asa and Truman.

Alison Shaw is a fine-art and editorial photographer who lives and works on Martha's Vineyard, which has provided the inspiration and subject matter for much of her color and black-and-white photography. Over 5000 of her original fine art prints are in public and private collections. Alison's work appears regularly in Yankee Magazine, Martha's Vineyard Magazine and Cape Cod Life. She teaches photography workshops for the Maine Photographic Workshops and Santa Fe Workshops. Alison lives with her family in Oak Bluffs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586854430
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 8/8/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 483,322
  • Product dimensions: 9.46 (w) x 11.44 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lew French was born in a small farming town in southern Minnesota, called Zumbrota. He started to work with stone when he was nineteen years old. He had a small construction crew right out of high school and built one or two houses a year. This is when he started to explore with stone.

He moved to Martha's Vineyard twenty years ago, and for the past twenty years has worked on his own stone designs exclusively. His work has been featured in the New York Times and House Beautiful.

Alison Shaw is a fine-art and editorial photographer who lives and works on Martha's Vineyard, which has provided the inspiration and subject matter for much of her color and black-and-white photography. Over 5000 of her original fine art prints are in public and private collections. Alison's work appears regularly in Yankee Magazine, Martha's Vineyard Magazine and Cape Cod Life.

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Read an Excerpt

Working with stone for the past twenty-eight years has been one continuous learning experience for me. I have designed and built a wide variety of stone objects, including fireplaces, walls, gardens, patios, interior spaces, sculptures, and landscapes. Throughout all this creating and building, I am still amazed at how much I do not know or understand about this simple and basic material called stone.

I had just turned nineteen when I first used stone in a building project. I sensed that there was something special about stone, but I did not begin to realize its full potential until I built a black limestone exterior chimney about three years later. While working on the chimney, the full force of the stone's power and energy hit me. It was an awakening. I remember, to this day, going to the quarry, handpicking the stones to be used, mixing the cement powder with the washed sand to make the concrete to hold the stones in place. I was doing all the work myself, putting in twelve-hour days of backbreaking labor. At night I would find myself in bed, so tired from the day's work in the hot sun but still not able to fall asleep, just laying there on my back. I waited anxiously for daybreak, so I could go back to work and lay more stone, thoughts racing through my mind, so excited about the hypnotic energy that the emerging patterns of the stones were creating. I wanted to create a bigger picture, at the end of the day I'd set my tools down and just stare at what was unfolding. It was not about the work-I liked being outdoors, working for myself, and being physically active. But the physical work was just a means to the end: the completed six-by-twenty-two-foot rectangular form. When it was finished, I could not stop myself from looking at it. The visual impact that the stonework had on me was like nothing I had experienced in my young life. For the first time I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with stone.

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Table of Contents

09 Preface

10 Acknowledgments

13 Introduction

21 Transformations in Stone: A Writing Studio

35 Landscaping with Stone: The Quitsa Pond Project

65 When Stone Inspires the Design: Isabella’s Cave

75 Stone Craftsmanship: Splitting with Feathers and Wedges

81 A Hearth of Stone: The Hollinshead Fireplace

115 Stone in the Garden:A Walled Garden Door

133 Setting Stone for All Seasons: A Pathway

143 An Interview with Lew French: The Making of an Artist

160 Resources

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2005

    Amazing book

    The is the best book on the subject I have ever come across. In fact, this is more like an art book than anything else. The work is simply fantastic, and the photos are very beautiful

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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