CODAworx Magazine

A colorful detail of the stones used in “Phoenix Rising” public art mosaic.
Image © 2018 Dave Chance Photography

CODAworx is a public art clearinghouse that I use as a way to find listings of upcoming RFQs. They publish a monthly online magazine the celebrates various public art projects around the world. “Phoenix Rising” is included in the June issue.

Stone Steps and Pathway

Pennsylvania stone makes a lovely path and set of steps.

We were working on this project in 2020 when the pandemic hit. We had to leave in the middle for three weeks. I visited it earlier this spring and got to see how it’s all coming together. This is in Biltmore Forest, just south of Asheville, North Carolina. We did this project with Emily Gregory of B.B. Barns.

The Treehouse Orchestra


The mosaic is finished and ready for installation. We are planning to head up later in June! This is the last of five mosaics we are doing for the schools in Norfolk, Virginia.

Woodland Stone Bench

A natural stone bench in a woodland setting in Arden, North Carolina

Last week we installed this memorial stone bench at a woodland site in Arden, North Carolina. An engraved boulder is planned for the site as well, to celebrate the life of Kim Carter, who lived in this area and helped to protect these woods from development.

Biltmore Forest Fire Pit & Patio

A Tennessee sandstone patio and fire in Biltmore Forest

I got to visit this project recently, taking a new client on a tour of older projects. A long stone path, interspersed with steps, leads to a small patio with a fire pit. We built this project with Emily Gregory of BB Barns Landscaping Services, almost two years ago.

A stone path that leads to a woodland patio with a fire pit

Hand Lettered Pet Memorial

A hand lettered stone memorial for a pet on Pennsylvania bluestone

Velcro was the beloved black lab of my friend and crew mate Jonathan. Velcro got sick and died late last year. I made this stone for him. The lettering is carved into Pennsylvania bluestone. The surround is Tennessee sandstone. The bluestone carved nicely, but it has a natural finish. It addition to being bumpy, there’s a ridge along the stone where it bumps out 1/8″. That doesn’t sound like much, but it effected the edge of my carved lines. A perfectly flat stone will produce a cleaner line. But this has a rustic character befitting the stone and the site. Kristin grew the plants (zinnia, celosia, and cosmo.)

Goldfinch Stone Mosaic Inlay

I’m starting a new commission, a Garden Guardian of a goldfinch to complement a recent stone wall and pathway we built.

Pattern cut for stone mosaic inlay

I sketch ideas on paper but eventually make a final draft in the computer using Adobe Illustrator. It is really easy to scale thing up and down in that program, meaning I don’t have to completely redraw it if I decide I want it a half inch larger.

Pattern traced of stone mosaic inlay

I usually trace the inside of the pattern for an inlay- the negative space. This time I went to the outside of the pattern piece itself, because I wanted it fractionally larger than I drew it.

Stock removal of stone mosaic inlay

I have to cut the opening for the inlay first, before I start the stone mosaic. That way, if I make any mistakes- and I often do, going beyond the lines- I can adjust my paper templates before I cut the inlay pieces. This is as far as I can go with the grinders. Next step will be to finish the stock removal with chisels. I aim for a half inch of depth. More is okay, less is not. I need enough room for the stone, usually about 3/8″, plus thinset tile mortar.

Pink Granite Wall

A small retaining wall turned this bare patch into a flourishing garden!

This little corner of our client’s yard was bare clay and discarded scraps of junk. It was ugly and unusable. We happened to have some pink granite- the byproduct of my impulse control disorder when it comes to buying stone- that perfectly matched the material used to build the house so long ago. We put this wall together and filled with soil. A year later, it’s a flourishing garden. They found some cast iron porch posts that they are using for climbing roses.

This links back to when we built this…

Biltmore Forest Stonework

Emily Gregory from B.B. Barns Landscaping Services took these photos of a project we worked on together about this time last year. This was the project we were on when the pandemic and shutdown hit. We ended up leaving the project for three weeks before resuming. The walls are drystone, of Hooper’s Creek. The steps are made of Pennsylvania stone. The steps are mortared. It is in the Town of Biltmore Forest, just south of Asheville, a tony little community.

Drystone wall with steps in the Town of Biltmore Forest

Drystone wall in the Town of Biltmore Forest