An educational convergence of trades where
Medieval meets Modern

SEPTEMBER 15-19, 2009

Marenakos Rock Center, Issaquah, Washington
The 5th Annual StoneFest will address both traditional and contemporary methods of working with stone in architectural, landscape and sculptural contexts.


'WALLS, WINDOWS AND LOOPS' in MEDIEVAL STONEMASONRY is a hands-on workshop about returning to the roots of stone masonry and learning more. A limited group of participants will set out, cut and build simple medieval window and loop elements as seen in defensive walls using hot lime mortars.

On the course people will cut defensive window loops, build and fire a lime kiln to make quicklime and pozzolan, mix hot lime and pozzolanic lime mortars, run quicklime to putty and build a medieval wall structure incorporating loops, embrasures and possibly an arch! This course integrates dry stone principals and veers into the world of mortared stone that varies from the use of earth as an effective mortar to boiling hot lime mortars and those that can be used beneath the sea. This workshop is all about tradition and how we can repair old buildings but also how we can apply these ancient techniques and traditional materials for new work.

This workshop takes a practical look at building structures in stone and will be of interest to experienced stonemasons who want to further their knowledge but will also appeal to architects, archaeologists, historians, teachers, national park advocates and employees, or simply anyone who has a love of stone and historic architecture.

Patrick McAfee (Dublin, Ireland) will step back in time and explore why castles, forts and cathedrals stood the test of time and how the same principals of stone masonry are still applicable today.

Patrick began apprenticing with his father 45 years ago and today offers his wealth of experience with a fervent passion to share this knowledge. He worked for a number of years in Australia and also studied traditional methods of working with stone and lime mortars at the European School of Conservation at San Servolo,Venice. He now divides his time running training courses ranging from professional stonemasons to career development and as a restoration consultant throughout Ireland. McAfee is the author of the best selling book, 'Irish Stone Walls', 'Stone Buildings' and is currently completing his third book on lime mortars.

View StoneFest 08,and StoneFest 06 for past project photos, and make sure to visit

Randy Potter (Barre, Vermont) from well renowned  TROW and HOLDEN COMPANY will be working hands on with participants this year along side Patrick on a medieval Tenino sandstone construct addressing proper use, application and maintenance of tools. Randy has worked with Trow and Holden Co. for over 25 years, creating the finest tools in the industry, while concurrently working in the granite and stone industry on an array of projects from construction, monument installation and restoration.

Project Apprenticeship with Mr. McAfee is offered to Russ Beardsley, Borrowed Grounds Landscaping, (Bellingham,WA) who will assist participants throughout the project.

Ask an Expert- Flagstone and Paving. Cameron Scott, Exteriorscapes, (Seattle WA) Will present a short demonstration on setting flagstone for exterior applications followed by a roundtable discussion.


Guest Carver: Nora Valdez
(Argentina, via Boston), Internationally recognized and trained, Nora will bring her love of stonework in her “tool bags”- which themselves are often carved in stone.

She will work on a monumental personal project onsite and offer a presentation of her work, while sharing some stories of recent international teaching, travels and travails! Nora has held teaching positions at institutions worldwide, including Prof. of Fine Art in Mercedes, Argentina, University of Boston and The Carving Studio in Vermont to name only a few.

On Track with David Miller, Our Cornerstone of StoneFest joins us again from Eugene, Oregon. David assists both sculptors and masons on all fronts of StoneFest, but primarily acts as an intuitive guide to carvers from beginning to advanced find their personal voice in their own unique expression in stone. Don’t miss an opportunity to Get On Track with David Miller!

Also invited to return to StoneFest...

Master carver: John Fisher
(Pietrasanta, Italy/ Ft.Bragg, California) will be attending as a participant and working on his own sculpture this year, along with Sabah Al-Dhaher (Iraq, via Seattle). Please see StoneFest 08 for more details and photos for either of these amazing sculptors or visit their websites direct.


Acclaimed monument and memorial carver KARIN SPRAGUE, from Rhode Island will be creating a project over the four day period that participants can take part in hands-on, learning the fine art of creating hand carved script in stone.

Additional invited guests who specialize in letter and architectural carving include Keith Phillips, Tenino WA and the honorable Nathen Blackwell, who is still carving strong at age 87! (see his story on first page)


Having the right tools for the job is a must. StoneFest 2009 will be supported by Trow and Holden Co. and A Cut Above by offering tools for sale as well as a few for demonstration purposes so you can try-before-you-buy. Randy Potter (listed above) will be onsite to answer all your questions and will be assisted by Alexandra Morosco, who also shares the role as Director of StoneFest, and has assisted Trow and Holden in the field at carving and masonry events since 1998. Professionally, Alexandra is an accomplished artist and stone carver, Tool sales and assistance will be available throughout the week during posted hours, with the emphasis for vendor demo’s on the first day of the event so you can apply the right tools to your project immediately! Visit  or to get a peek of what will be on sale at the event.


Beyond Hospitality: Bringing soul to an environment through distinctive choices Phillip Sherburne, designer, developer and architect. Mr. Sherburne inadvertently stumbled upon StoneFest in 2006 and since then many great connections have been made and beautiful projects in stone have been realized. We have invited Phil to bring along a presentation on The Bardessono resort and spa in Napa Valley, Ca. where he collaborated with Marenakos and several participants of StoneFest ’06 creating beautiful courtyards incorporating stone as dramatic water features and sculpture. Phil Sherburne is based in Seattle, Washington.

Eric Higgs, Sculptural Landscape Artist, Tampa Bay, Florida. Eric has been invited to give a presentation and show a fast paced array of his stunning work in stone, often incorporating Columbia River Basalt, a Northwest favorite.

David Williams, Author and researcher, David will share excerpts from his newly published book, Stories in Stone, Seattle Washington.


If you have a connection to stone you simply can’t miss this event!


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PO Box 478 Preston, WA 98050 • 425.392.3313 fax 425.392.7332 •

Marenakos Rock Center