When I think of creative pros, my mind first wanders to those working in the digital, print, and type realms. Branching out from there I think about illustrators, sculptors, painters, and similar crafts. But one profession I never really gave much thought to was one that combines a little of each of these disciplines: the stone artist. I recently saw a short film from the History Channel online about Nick Benson, creative director of the John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island. The shop—which specializes in the design and carving of stone inscriptions—has a long history dating back to 1705. The shop prides itself on using manual techniques, from hand-lettering and painting the designs to the hand-carving of those designs in various stone surfaces. When asked the question, “What happens if you make a mistake?” Nick answers, “You don’t.” I think of all the last minute changes I make when designing and how easy it is to switch out graphics or typefaces, then compare that to the pressure of having no room for error. Nick feels he gets a better result with the time-consuming manual process than can be achieved with mechanical methods. Working with hammers, mallets, and chisels not [...]
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