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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.