Ventura Breeze article

“The Return of The Rocknockers”

Stone FoundationTomas Lipps, of New Mexico and the “The Stone Foundation” is the promoter, organizer and director of the mortarless wall construction taking place at Grant Park. The title, “The Stone Foundation” is an irresistible pun, being used to identify the group of friends and fellow stonemasons who comprised the team of instructors that started the “The Stone Foundation” in New Mexico. He has been a stone mason for 40 years.

The Stone Foundation's annual gatherings have moved around the calendar and around the world. Last year for the first time it took place in the winter, in Ventura.

This year's Dry Stone Walling Workshop (as it is called) is taking place once again on another project in Ventura. Lipps commented “The building and balancing that went on there last year was fun for us and a source of interest to the townsfolk and visitors in Ventura. So we decided to return”

Christy Weir Chair, Serra Cross Conservancy and City Council member stated that “A year ago, 14th generation stonemasons from Japan traveled to Ventura to build massive stone ramparts at the Grant Park Cross. They spoke no English, but were fluent in the language of stone, using traditional tools and the ‘gravity’ walling method that has evolved over centuries. Dozens of other stoneworkers from around the world came to learn from them over ten days in January, and the result was a monumental stone structure that can be seen from miles around and will remain stable for hundreds of years. Mortarless wall construction is the technique best suited for terrain subject to seismic shock, as Japan and California both are.”

The international Legacy Wall is being built adjacent to last year’s project and will act as a retaining wall for much needed additional parking and will create a lovely picnic area below with a magnificent view of Ventura and the ocean.

The project was facilitated by the Serra Cross Conservancy, which owns the land, and Paul Lindhard, owner of Art City.

Using 2 tons of our beautiful Ventura Blue sandstone from Larry Mosler’s stone quarry in Ojai stonemasons from a variety of countries will teach the ancient craft of dry stone walling instructed by master stonemasons from England, Ireland, Canada and Spain.

The public is invited to observe, from a safe distance, these masters at work. Close observation of the wall will show four different stone laying techniques as taught by the masters from the 4 countries.

Ventura’s downtown Anacapa Brewery was so inspired by these incredible masons that they have created a new beer called “”Rocknockers Ale”.

For more information on the stone work at Grant Park: www.stonefoundation.org.

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