February 2021

Stone art

Michael Stone’s art ended in crippling arthritis

Loyalist killer Michael Stone was forced to stop painting because of arthritis in both hands.

’65-year-old man, who was paroled from Maghaberry Prison last month after serving 26 years of a life sentence, made a small fortune from his art when he was previously released under the Good Friday deal.

Some of the work has sold for over £ 10,000, but the debilitating stiffness of Stone’s fingers means he’ll never pick up a brush again.

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Stone art

Artist Akie Nakata Sells Her Stone Art Almost Instantly Via Facebook

It takes less than 10 minutes, and sometimes as little as two, for Japanese artist Akie Nakata to sell his hand-painted stones on Facebook. Just seconds after sharing a photo of his latest creation, a fan will stand up to buy it.

Although Nakata sells her work through the Seizan Gallery in Tokyo and the Ginza Mitsukoshi Department Store in Tokyo, Facebook has provided a way to expand her audience outside of Japan. His Facebook group currently has nearly 85,000 subscribers.

Nakata’s pieces are palm-sized river stones depicting detailed images of realistic animals, which she paints with acrylic gouache. His pieces have sold for between $ 300 and $ 1,500.

Let the animal emerge

Her artistic process does not begin with the intention of painting a particular animal, but rather the rocks she sees guide her. “I paint the animal that I feel is inside the stone, following the spine and the body structure that is visible on the stone,” she explains. “I believe that it is the stone which decides what should be painted, rather than me which decides … I color the animals which I feel inside the stones, in order to let them appear on the surface.”

“What I aspire to draw is something that has just been born in my hand, through my dialogues with stones. I want to paint the “life” of animals that I felt in stone, ”she says. “At the end of my painting process, when I put my brush on the stone to paint the eyes, there is that moment when I feel it’s over, when the eyes are looking at me.

“As a way of working, it’s important to me never to alter the shape of the stone – no polishing / sanding, or any application of undercoat,” says Nakata.

His work has included animals ranging from dogs and birds to lions, cats, owls, lambs, fish, elephants, possums, turtles, koalas and polar bears, to name a few. only a few. Although she has been painting since 2010, she says that she “only encountered five stones sheltering an octopus”.

Nakata collects her stones on several favorite banks of Saitama, where she goes to look for “good encounters with the stones”. Through these encounters, animal images emerge to him. “Stones are not for me canvases; they are more collaborative partners that I meet on the banks, ”she says. “Most of the time, I’m lucky enough to meet good people and I take several stones home, but other days I might not be so lucky,” returning home empty-handed.

A born artist

Nakata’s foray into stone painting happened almost by accident, as she was walking by a river while in college and “encountered a stone that just looked like a rabbit,” recalls. she. “I loved it and took it home, and painted it as the stone led me.”

“I’ve always loved drawing, natural stones and animals – all living things,” she says. However, his university education was not strictly in art – it was in arts education. “I studied in the education department to become a junior high school teacher,” she says, studying “the broad spectrum of the arts curriculum.” However, his painting process is self-taught.

Today, she devotes herself to her profession full time. This year, her goal is to create more than 100 pieces, although she says her workload, or productivity, varies depending on whether she has gallery exhibitions scheduled.

In addition to Facebook, Nakata has an account on Instagram and Twitter, where she posts her work as soon as it is available. She didn’t use any form of paid advertising and organically racked up 105,000 Instagram followers and 15,000 Twitter followers, in addition to her tens of thousands of Facebook fans.

“I always hope that every piece of my work reaches someone who enjoys the encounter with the stone, just as I enjoy my encounter with this particular stone,” says Nakata. She suspects her social media fan base has grown because her audience “feels empathy” for the connection she feels to the animal, stone, and earth from which it emerged.

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Stone wall

Stonemasons to dismantle and then rebuild a dry stone wall

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KINGSTON – A small team of stonemasons are dismantling a 16-meter section of a 40-meter-long dry limestone wall that is older than Canada on the property of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Public Library Frontenac.


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The wall, just over a meter high, is moved to make room for the widening of Gore Road on the east side of the new bridge over the Cataraqui River.

The wall currently runs north to south, parallel to the river, and the 16-meter portion will eventually be rebuilt and facing east.

Several large mature trees were felled last fall to make way for the widening of the road.

John Scott, a consultant stonemason from Perth, is working on the project with Craig Beattie, owner of Edgewater Stonemasons in Kingston and apprentice stonemason Alex Cappon.

Scott has stated that the farm which forms part of the library was built in 1863, and he assumes that the wall was built soon after.

He said there was an orchard on the property and the wall was likely built to keep farm animals out.

A dry stone wall is made without mortar and remains united by leaning on itself. It also tapers, the bottom of the fence being wider than the top.

Scott said the wall was built the same way the walls were built in Ireland.

“Which makes sense because in 1860 many Irish and Scottish farmers emigrated to this area and have the capacity to build farm walls,” Scott said.

“Twenty years ago, the common thought was to just turn this around because it’s a bunch of rocks, but the city of Kingston is smart enough; they realize the heritage value.

“It’s a very unique wall. Many of them have been pushed back and they are no longer there.


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Scott said they are in communication with the city and are communicating with Kiewit, the bridge builder.

The cost of $ 40,000 for dismantling the wall is part of the $ 180 million budget for the bridge.

While the three-person team dismantles the 16-meter-long wall, they catalog and store the stone in sealed bags which will be stored on the library property.

One meter from each wall goes in a bag on a pallet and will be reassembled.

The crew is currently in the middle of the three-phase project. The research part is complete, teardown and registration is in progress and should take about eight more working days, and the third and final part will be reassembly.

“We’re learning as we go to find out how it was built, why it stays put and some of its flaws,” Scott said. “One of the rules of heritage is that it has to be rebuilt in kind using the same stone, but we’re going to make some improvements to the bond to make it stronger than it was.”

The link, Scott said, refers to the pattern of placement of the stones and not the mortar used to glue the stones together.

Scott said the artisans built a strong wall over 155 years ago.

“Absolutely, there are different branches of masonry, and building dry stone walls is kind of a lost craft,” he said.

Craig Beattie, left, owner of Edgewater Stonemasons of Kingston, and apprentice stonemason Alex Cappon work on a drystone wall being dismantled on the property of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library for make way for the widening of Gore Road.
Craig Beattie, left, owner of Edgewater Stonemasons of Kingston, and apprentice stonemason Alex Cappon work on a drystone wall being dismantled on the property of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library for make way for the widening of Gore Road. Photo by Ian MacAlpine /The Whig-Standard

The wall will be put back in place once the bridge and road widening are completed in late 2022 or early 2023.

The bid to carry out the work of reassembling the wall has not been decided, but since the stones are being saved and cataloged, any stonemasonry company would be able to reassemble it.


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Beattie said he admired the drystone wall for a long time.

“I was always aware that it was here, and when the city needed help with it, it seemed like it was something I was really interested in getting involved in,” he said. he declares.

“Everything is documented. There is a record. John reports on the conditions here and everything is organized, labeled and identified so that someone else can come in and understand what was going on here.

“The value of heritage assets like this is only realized once it is gone, and the City of Kingston realizes it,” said Scott.

According to a historical plaque outside the library, Hawthorn Cottage was built by the Hay brothers in 1866, and its first owners were John Canniff and Sarah (Baillie) Ruttan.

The homemade wall and surrounding land were purchased by the former Township of Pittsburgh prior to the 1998 amalgamation with the city. It was chosen in 1997 to be the site of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

A February 10 view of the drystone wall being dismantled on the property of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library to make way for the widening of Gore Road.
A February 10 view of the drystone wall being dismantled on the property of the Pittsburgh branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library to make way for the widening of Gore Road. Photo by Ian MacAlpine /The Whig-Standard

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Stone painting

Creative 6-year-old schoolboy launches ‘Covid Snake’ stone painting project at Crabtree Plantation

A YOUNG boy from Old Basing uses his creativity to bring smiles to residents during the lockdown.

Six-year-old Archie Haddock recently started painting stones and decided to use his creative side to start a community project.

On their regular walks to the Crabtree Plantation, Archie and his mother, Sophie, laid the stones to start the ‘Crabtree Covid Snake’ for people to add and lay their own painted stones during the lockdown.

“He had seen one similar to Yateley,” Sophie explained.

“He’s been painting rocks and hiding them around Basingstoke for a while, so when he talked about doing it I thought it was pretty cute.”

Archie and his family live on Dickens Lane, not far from Crabtree, and walk there regularly, especially during the lockdown.

“So many people are going to be walking right now,” Sophie said.

“So Archie said a lot of people would see it there. We started it maybe three or four weeks ago, with only two stones, and it now has about 160 beautifully painted stones.

Sophie posted the idea on a Facebook group called Basing-stones, encouraging others to get involved and add their stones to the snake.

“So many people have said how beautiful it is. It gives them something to get the kids out of the house,” she said.

“Archie is really creative. He likes legos, painting, doing things with clay.

Archie, who attends the Old Basing Infant School, has painted stones that represent his favorite things, including a ‘Danger Mouse’ themed one and a Lego head stone.

Through the Facebook group, he is also organizing a mid-term competition, where he will give a prize to the person who has painted his favorite stone on the snake.

Sophie added: “It gives them something to focus on. It can be difficult to find things they want to do without playing on the Kindle or watching TV. With that, if I say let’s go for a walk to find more stones to paint, he’s excited.

She said Archie was very happy with the reaction.

“Between his homework, at lunchtime, we say we’ll go see the snake. It’s a little break away from school. Every time we go out he can’t believe it.

“It’s something he can look back on and think about, we did it, I started this.”

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