Sunday, April 22, 2007

Rocking the world, one stone at a time.

Stone craftsman and women have a unique way of communicating with stone.
We quietly and contemplatively carry on a dialogue that is more like a dance than a conversation.

When onlookers ask how I know where to strike a stone to get that perfect face I tell them that if you study the stone for a moment it will talk to you.

No, I don’t mean that a little voice will start chatting it up with you but rather it will inform you through its body language where its sweet spot lay.

The stonework that you will see in photographs below was handcrafted by Miguel Chavez , a master stone mason from Northern California , who has been conversing with stone for the past 25 years.

This project below uses a stone called Three Rivers in the flat work and our local Napa Valley Sayers Quarry stone for the walls


Note the beauty in the grain of this flat stone


We deeply raked the joints so that the stone gave the appearance of being dry laid, which is impractical here in earth quake country



Below is another project located in Sonoma Valley that also uses the Napa Valley Sayers Quarry Stone.
The photo below shows the form and steel work for our footings


The wall as it is going up and the bocce ball court being buiit.


The finished project : A 130 foot long Sayers Quarry stone wall, a decomposed granite dining and sitting area overlooking the oyster shell surfaced bocce ball court and 100 yard fairway.


Another job in Mill Valley where the Sayers Quarry stone was used for the walls and the flat stone is from Kentucky.



One of the least expensive stones that is imported into California comes from Arizona.
Below are some examples of some Arizona stair case work.





We also used some thick pieces of Arizona flag stone to cap off the mantle on this fireplace.
The fireplace stone is Sonoma Valley field stone.



One of the more expensive stones that is imported into California is from New England.
The pre cut ashlar patterned patio stone is especially expensive but yeilds a beautiful finished project.



Below is a photograph of Miguel flaming the edge of a piece of bluestone .
This large slab was cut to size on site to make the counter top . To give the edge of the stone a lovely finished look a torch is used to flake and thermalize the stone.


The finished project


A detail shot of the cook center




Below is another project also utilizing New England Bluestone.
Here we use the random cut which renders a less formal look.
The large inlaid boulders are local Sonoma county field stone.



A sitting patio with a hand cut and flamed stone wall and water feature


A detail shot of the water feature and cast bronze spitting frogs.


Below is a portion of a project that we did for a Modernist house .
The water feature is a mix of New England Bluestone and California Brownstone.

We consider most of our work a form of site specific sculpture .
Below is a water feature that was originally a 14 foot long piece of hexagonal basalt stone from Canada.
We had the stone sliced into unequal thirds and then went to work fitting the stone together, core boring the centers out for the water feed and cup grinding and diamond polishing the tops into bowls.


This stone that this fireplace is crafted from hails froms Montana.
The counter top, seat caps , hand carved corbels on the mantle and inlaid recessed stone behind the antique french wrought iron grill work is New England Bluestone
Photography by Lee Anne White




We were extremely fortunate to land a project up in the Sierra Mountains at Squaw Valley Village, home of the 1950 Olympics.
Here we crafted an outdoor entertainment room complete with a kitchen, firepit, water feature and sculptural metal iron work.




Detail of the water feature as we were fine tuning the flow.


Below is a project located in Carmel Valley . Our office did all the exterior architectural design work and some of the exterior landscape construction.
Miguel did not do the architectureal stone work on this project but did do the landscaping and the exterior sculptural water feature work.
This rare stone and limited stone is from central California. It is called Santa Rita limestone .




I hope that you enjoyed viewing our landscape architectural design work and hand crafted masonry stonework.

Michelle Derviss

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, When you mention local rock from sayers do you mean Syar

Nan Ondra said...

Wow, Michelle - these stone projects are breathtaking. Such beautiful work. Seeing the examples of your lovely regional stone, it surprises me that there's a need to import stone all the way from New England, but it certainly does give you a different look. Thanks for sharing the link to this post. I'll be sure to add you to the main summary post for the May Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop when I update it.