Boothbay Railway Village

Maine Stone Working Weekend: Telling the story of one of Maine’s oldest trades

Wed, 08/03/2016 - 7:15am

From granite for some of the country’s most significant public buildings to slate for roof tiles, commercial mining and stone working has thrived in Maine since around 1800. The sector’s evolution affected transportation by both sea and rail, while technological advances changed the industry in significant ways. Today, Maine stone artists and artisans still use many traditional techniques to create everything from garden benches to world-renowned public architecture. The Boothbay Railway Village is honored to be partnered with the Maine Stone Workers Guild for a multi-year project investigating the historical ties between technology, industry and the creative world.

In anticipation of the first ever Maine Coast Stone Symposium coming to Boothbay in August 2017, the Maine Stone Working Weekend on Aug. 13 and 14 will feature stone cutting demonstrations, lectures and exhibits hosted by the artists and artisans of the Maine Stone Workers Guild.

Remembering Cabot Lyford, Maine Master

Maine Stone Working Weekend kicks-off with a program on sculptor Cabot Lyford. Lyford was highly regarded by peers and critics alike as one of the finest stone carvers in New England. Using native stone, sometimes found in local stone walls or on the shoreline as well as established quarries, he produced hundreds of pieces, many monumental, which appear in both private collections and public places throughout the country. He created dynamic, sensuous, sometimes whimsical figures using rudimentary tools and "reading" the stone to release the images. One of his best known and well beloved pieces portrays leaping dolphins, titled "Life Force" which stands in the courtyard of a hotel in the Old Port, Portland. 

Lyford passed away in January of this year at the age of ninety, but worked stone until he was 85. His 60-year career is celebrated in a video produced for the Maine Arts Commission's "Maine Masters" series. Cabot's daughter, Julia Lyford Lane, will present a discussion of his inspiration and techniques sharing slides and anecdotes about his artistic legacy. The talk will take place inside the Town Hall at the Museum starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9. A donation of $5 is suggested and proceeds will benefit the Museum’s general operating fund.

Demonstrations, exhibits & meet the artists

Event sponsor J.C. Stone has provided a beautiful block of Maine granite to be split and tooled into entrance stairs for the 1847 Boothbay Town Hall during the day on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13 and 14. In addition, Guild members will be demonstrating other techniques while working on personal projects, showing finished sculptures and talking with visitors about this amazing part of Maine’s heritage.  The weekend activities are free with Museum admission.

Art and architecture of stone 

Join us for a closing conversation with artisans, designers and contractors about the art and architecture of stone. Using photographs and artistic renderings as a guide, “Art and Architecture of Stone” will be an open discussion between Rick Nelson, a Maine licensed architect, Arek Galle, a landscape architect, and Dan Ucci, a stone mason/artist.  Rick, Arek and Dan often collaborate on Knickerbocker Group projects that entail incorporating stone design elements, or adapting to existing stone conditions, into the architecture or landscape of a home.  They will share examples of the various considerations when working with stone, overcoming challenges, and making the most out of integrating stone into your life in an artful way.

Rick Nelson, AIA, is Architect Manager at Knickerbocker Group. Arek Galle, RLA, AICP, is a landscape architect at BETA Group. Dan Ucci is a stone mason, artist and the owner of Ledge Hill Creations. Ucci will be one of the 12 sculptors participating in the 2017 Maine Coast Stone Symposium at the Museum.

The talk will take place inside the Town Hall at the Museum starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 16. A donation of $5 is suggested and proceeds will benefit the Museum’s general operating fund.

Maine Stone Working Weekend is made possible with the generous support of Knickerbocker Group, J.C. Stone, Art Collector Maine, Maine Magazine & Maine Home + Design Magazine. All activities take place at the Boothbay Railway Village, 586 Wiscasset Road, Route 27, Boothbay, Maine. To learn more visit or call 207-633-4727.