Man’s use of masonry grounds him to this planet, from his original housing to when he spoke to his Gods
and enshrined his leaders. Masonry ties him to the earth, it comes from the earth, it is the earth. Those
who touch it and work with it are fortunate to get such a connection in their life.
Man has had a commitment, from the beginning of time until the present, to express himself in something permanent
from the earth. These masonry statements, from early dwellings, places of worship, present day monuments and statues
are the most important statements we make. When you mean it and commit to it, you do it in masonry.
I don’t know what those pictures did to you, but I have done this my whole life and I still get excited
about masonry. What can’t be seen in these pictures is the true harmony and magic of many men
working together for such beauty. Just the sound of the chisels, the high ring you hear when a man
is effectively working his tool, is magical. Fifteen or 20 men cutting stone is truly a symphony of beauty,
and at the end of the day you just bask in the beauty created. As much as it is adjoining man’s spirit to
the earth, it is adjoining man’s spirit to each other. Bonds and ties are formed, and relationships made that
can’t be explained until you lived them. It is a real treat to be a part of it.
I recently taught a seminar showing how to tie an outdoor fireplace to a bread oven, which can also be
used intermittently as a pizza oven. Basically, man has been cooking his food in public or central places
since early man. This is just one minuscule facet. A single lifetime will never be enough to explore the
endless masonry possibilities.
For the most part, the people that come to this trade bring their passion for its beauty. In the full
scope of it, from Wal-Mart distribution centers to American modern day markets (shopping centers) and
industrial buildings that feed and run a nation, every one of these projects are so different and so
beautiful for so many reasons.
Taking this passion and desire, turning it into a business and operating under all the perimeters of
economics, create yet another dimension. One time in my career I would have said it had a bad effect,
but no, it has made me strive for products that are more affordable, installations that were more cost effective, and
making masonry available for everyone. That is why I still have this vision of CMU single
family housing that I think can be easily built and reproduced, hitting numbers that the average person
can afford with a zero maintenance schedule. It shows yet another facet of masonry to easily get carried
While putting together these pictures for the web site, I look at a young man building a tool box for the
tools he brought to West Africa to build schools. These tools were originally brought over in a duffle bag.
Big upgrade, now ready for the next professional adventure, with new learning (on the road again).
The same tool box is now adorned with a plum bob at least 400 years old that I found cutting stone in a church in
France, a remodel addition using reclaimed stones. The eggs that the French masons laid up
in the walls was a tradition for good luck for the building and its inhabitants and I think of all of those adventures and
how richer my life is for it. I look at the folks that work with me now and I think how
lucky I am to have them and their passion.
We take pride in both the superior quality of work and the professional manner in which we perform it.
We have the ability to interface with architects and contractors in the design process to arrive at their conceptual
So if you are looking for a Finnish/Russian fireplace, a bread oven, to a building out in a mine in
Carlin, NV to a Water Treatment Plant, we do them with equal passion and desire.
What do you have in mind?
|West Africa, building schools
|The Men of Northeast Masonry