Leaving No Stone Unturned
The south of France is a rocky place, one where pretty much anything that can be made of stone, is.
From the most natural
to the most highly worked, stone is a ubiquitous presence in our lives. If I’ve even ever been in a wooden building here, it escaped my attention. The French have the idea of “construction en dur” or construction using hard materials. These days that also includes a lot of concrete construction, but much of what we see every day was built to last for hundreds of years, and so it has.
From the simply utilitarian
through the category of beautiful as well as useful
stone has everywhere been worked to be more gorgeous than it strictly has to be to serve its function. Masons and stonecutters are a well-represented category of artisans
and whether it’s restoring old structures
or carving out niches in caves to install a gallery, a stonecutter’s work is never done. We were in a stonecutter’s house recently, a place where even the towel hook in the shower was carved in stone. “It only took me a couple of hours to carve it,” he said. He left unsaid what I was thinking:
an hour here, an hour there, and pretty soon you’re talking real work.