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Article in the Monadnock Ledger
If you missed my article in the Monadnock Ledger Transcript, now you can read it here:
I began my career as a stone mason somewhat by accident. After graduating from college with a degree in graphic design and an insatiable desire to see the world, I decided to stray from the traditional path that would lead me to adulthood and instead hoped a plane to Asia. With a limited budget and a few missteps while over seas (a story for another time) I returned to New Hampshire weary of the future and with empty pockets. I needed work fast, and with out the luxury of time I had once had, I took the first money making opportunity I found. I was given a job with a friend helping him build a fieldstone wall. At the time I had know idea that I would be sewing the seeds of my future career. I had never payed much attention to stone until this point. My sensibilities were with the arts and especially photography, not this laborious out-dated task of stacking rocks. My early days as a stonemason’s apprentice were challenging. I longed for adventure and the unknown that I had once felt while traveling in the far east. I was now a workman with callused hands and an office with no walls and a thermostat controlled by the rotation of the earth instead of a dial on the wall. My resistance to this new life I was living slowly weakened. I began to appreciate the hard work I was doing. I enjoyed getting dirty. I enjoyed the fatigue my body was feeling. I enjoyed the outdoor office despite the seasonal changes. and I was falling in love with the ghosts of this forgotten craft.
I plotted along for a few years after Asia. I still did some work with my friend whom had initially hired me as well as some work on my own. I was gaining confidence in my skills and constantly learning new methods and rules. I was also seeing the possibilities of stonework as an art form and not just a forgotten task left behind by progress. My working experiences were varied since returning from Asia. I was a carpenter, an organic farmer, a roofer and a barn builder, but I was always a stone mason. I continued to work for various companies and individuals honing my skills along the way until 2003 when I was introduced to Chuck Simpson. Chuck was looking for a mason to join Simpson Landscape Co. and I was looking for a more stable income. I accepted the job.
It was while working for Chuck that I would meet my future business partner and gain the knowledge and confidence to really go out on my own and run a business. It was certainly tough love working for Chuck. I learned a lot while working for Simson Landscape Co. and maybe the most important thing was that I never wanted to work for someone else. I decided to leave the company in 2005 with two other employees and started Darkstone. Since those early days weary of the future I have been able to learn and develop a skill that I am proud to have.
Darkstone has evolved from three to two and now just to one. I am hopeful for the future and I am always learning. I am now a certified dry stone waller through the dry stone walling assoc. of great britian. This year Darkstone is undergoing a makeover. I am rebranding and ramping up the advertising. For the first time Darkstone will be offering stone sales along with construction. Darkstone will be marketing handpicked native New England fieldstone as well as reclaimed antique granite steps, posts and wall stone. Darkstone will also be expanding to Westen ma and Southern Vt. along with the Monadnock region. In the future all things are possible and I still haven’t given up on photography. I will be working on a photo book that captures the craftsman who preserve this timeless trade.