About StoneFest 2009


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.

“It’s All About Nathan…”

Nathen Blackwell, Ventura, California,
is a master letter and architectural carver whose portfolio includes the stone lettering on the monumental headstone and presidential seal for the late President Reagan. Nathen Blackwell, now 87, was born in Hull, England and learnt his trade working for a stone company in Yorkshire, England. He moved to California via Canada in 1958.When Mr. Blackwell is not busy inventing the perfect tool for the job or ballroom dancing with his wife Millie, he is actively cutting and carving memorials, doing restoration work for churches, cemeteries, and governmental buildings. Among his long list of clients and projects he has been commissioned to do restoration at the Hearst Castle in Monterey, California and commissioned by actor Michael Douglas, who requested he carve an 18th-century style bathtub for his Spanish castle from a two ton block of Italian marble. Nathen is an extraordinary accomplished stone cutter, carver, and draughtsman who emanates fine craftsmanship. His 87 years of creative living and passionate work in the stone industry (for over 65 years!) establish him as the personification of all that is most honorable in a life dedicated to fine craftsmanship in stone.  His excellence in artistic design and superb craftsmanship is an inspiration to all who witness him in his craft. It is an honor to welcome back Nathen Blackwell to StoneFest for his fourth consecutive year.  While at work in years ahead we hope each participant keeps in mind why “It’s all about Nathen”.

Click here to read the article A Life in Letters published in the Los Angeles Times, January 29, 2001 illustrating Nathen’s exceptional craftsmanship, elegance and charm.


StoneFest ’08 Team
Russ Beardsley, Pat McAfee, Travis Brown, Nathen Blackwell, Alexandra Morosco and Scott Hackney