This is a photo montage/panorama of the steps I built this past winter in the Montford district of Asheville. The step treads are made of the full-color variant of Pennsylvania bluestone. The wall, columns and step risers are made of granitic gneiss, mostly from the Hooper’s Creek quarry in Fletcher. The steps and columns are mortared; the wall is completely dry.
Sandstone steps and wall buried in snow. Looks positively comfortable right now.
Last Friday I led an hour long workshop for craftspeople and artisans on how to market their work. It was part of Handmade in America’s Art, Craft and Design Expo at the North Carolina Arboretum. The main push of my talk was that marketing is education and that craft artists should focus their marketing efforts on the 3 P’s: product, process and person. I also talked a bit about setting goals, making a cohesive plan and punk rock.
This drystone wall connects two columns in a Montford backyard. The redial steps are visible in the distance. Another wall segment will continue from the furthest column and turn at the bank. Most of the stone is a granitic gneiss: heavy, sharp and cantankerous. And it makes a lovely wall. Quarried a few miles outside of Asheville, it looks like it belongs here because it does.
In the photo below, find the green marble tucked in the joinery. In the bottom photo, there’s a pool ball.
I am starting my class prep for the Stonework Special Projects: Making A Bench session at the North Carolina Arboretum in May. Here’s a section of the slideshow focusing on making a bench in a drystone retaining wall.
I’ve just added a page about the Eight Leaves, Nine Stories patio pictured above.
Visitors to the Job Site
Sandstone wall detail
Working at night
This looks more like a crime scene than job site. I set up lights to work later on Monday, talking advantage of the lovely weather. Today’s nasty rain and tomorrow’s threat of wind gusts up 55 mph makes me glad I did.
These two benches were cut from the same slab of Tennessee sandstone. The first was built as a free-standing structure in a Chapel Hill neighborhood to celebrate the life of one of their most beloved members, Grandpa Tony. The bench is mortared and features an adjacent boulder with a small plaque. I call this type a castle block bench, named after the material used for the base stones.
Grandpa Tony’s bench
The second bench is in Asheville, adjacent to a sidewalk. The sitting stone, seatback and arm rests were all cut from same stone as Grandpa Tony’s bench. It is a drystone structure and built directly into the retaining wall.
A stone bench set into a retaining wall in downtown Asheville.
Next spring I will be leading a hands-on class at the Arboretum on making a stone bench. We’ll be building a castle block bench together that day. The official class date hasn’t been announced, but let me know if you’d like to be updated when the class registry opens.