I harvested the stone by hand from the farm or place listed in the title. This is my favorite part of the process, an opportunity to meet farmers, and share artifacts from land that grows rocks.
My work therefore celebrates the overlooked, the in-the-way, and the hidden. Wherever this sculpture goes next, may its spirit of triumph over obscurity, live on in its next home, and for generations to come.
Back at the studio, in Lowell, Massachusetts, I sawed two cross sections, perfectly parallel, in sequence, from an irregular three dimensional stone. After that, I carefully ground into the newly created disc to create a highly polished and non-absorbent finish with a gentle sloped edge to hold liquids. That requires 11 stages of wet diamond grinding with a hand tool, and ultimately leaves the stone permanently colorful. Next, I let the stone dry for one day, and came back the next, to mark its sourcing origin story, and apply a food safe resin and chemical to the top surface and sides. This penetrates any microscopic pores, making it virtually stain proof, and then stamp the Registered Trademark of my studio, and maker's signature, onto the underside with permanent ink. This ink will not run upon washing with soap and water. After this label, I affix silicone bumpers with two types of glue to ensure that they will stay attach and will withstand temperatures up to 125° and are safe to freeze.
The five digit number in the title is its serial number, and I’ve digitally archived this record of creation, for permanent artistic provenance. Each piece of my work will outlive myself, and maybe someday our descendants will trace your order number or this serial number, back to us. However today, I look to share this dish with its first collector, someone who appreciates the finest in handmade American craft. Not because we need, but because we can, and we do.
I've heard art described as an object that invites the observer, to ponder and ask questions about the object’s existence. In a world of rigid geometry, this art celebrates the irregular shape of an organism. It also embeds other stories for the curious to unravel.
Hold it in your hand, touch its smooth top, its smooth, curved rim, its natural exterior edge. Look deeply into the now cooled and solidified crystal matrix and slowly take in the millions of years of history embodied in that geology. If the earth were a tree, her stones would be flowers. That they will bloom for thousands of years to come, is not lost on us, those who love stone, and seek it out.
Now, turn it over, and see the maker’s brand, where he hand-gathered it from, and notice that the silicone feet tell a new story about its useful options. Those feet took years of practice and testing to ensure they wouldn’t bump off accidentally, and survive washing and chilling in the freezer. A bucolic accent? A tray for plants to protect your favorite furniture? A trivet for a candle, plant, or hot dish right out of the oven?
How is it even possible to make such a dish? Why haven’t I seen such a beautiful form like this before? Would this be a treasured gift if I had a loved one who had not yet read these words or seen these pictures? Someone opening the compostable box, plastic and ink free, relying on the included hang tag, story booklet, personalized gift note, and the object itself.
I’ve been mastering the craft of stonecutting and polishing for over 10 years. Like an iceberg, much of my journey to bring you this dish, remains unseen. Yet I’ve chosen this road less travelled, because I saw on this horizon, a story I wanted to metaphysically ‘write.’ This dish is a breadcrumb trail of my time as an artist.
Repeating these parallel cuts, perfectly each time, and then grinding that form to bring out a new shape and polished finish, requires an obsession with building and maintaining an independent studio to work from. Controlling water, diamond tools, electricity, contaminated air, and securing the piece in fixtures, are pieces of that iceberg. Experiments, revisions, and each sales, are ingredients in my quest to create the triumph of what is possible to offer you right now.
I collect as much of my own work, as possible, because I love and adore each piece. Now though, I put a price next to this dish, because I hope to share it with someone new. I work from a beautiful rented studio in Lowell, Massachusetts, and you are welcome to visit and inspect the item in person before purchase. Or click here online, and I will personally wrap and mail it to you as quickly as possible. Thank you for supporting the life of an independent craftsman, one that I am grateful for, and am proud to tell you about.
I believe a stone Dish makes not only a unique gift, but that it may be the absolutely perfect eco-friendly gift for the conscious consumer. A celebration of irony. Either for yourself, as an indulgence of your exquisite tastes, or for someone special, who values the outdoors, open space, and the wonders of nature. Someone who knows the importance of agriculture, and the sight of a barn. Someone who appreciates external beauty, and digs for the inner stories below the surface. Or as a wedding gift, where two people vow to be each other’s rock. Simply poetic.
- Dishes Include a Hot-Iron Branded Gift Box, a Customized Gift Note (if requested), a 6”x6” Multi-Page Story Booklet (printed on recycled paper), and a Provenance Hang Tag with Serial #
- Gift Box closed with rubber band for easily peaking inside prior to gifting
- 100% eco-friendly packaging and sourcing, compostable, and plastic free
- Outstanding wedding gift, housewarming gift for new homeowner, host or hostess gift, graduation gift (geologist or earth scientist for sure), retirement gift (with or without engraving), anniversary gift (stone is the traditional 50th wedding anniversary material), or for religious celebrations like Christmas or Hanukkah.
- Appropriate for ages 6-96
- Click the Sizing Tab for size, weight and related details. For scale, each wooden slat in photographs is 3" wide.
- All product photos of a particular product type (ie Charcuterie Boards or Coasters) are photographed from the same distance, and with the same focal lens. Therefore, you are welcome to compare size and shape from listing to listing as they are a representative scale. Coasters and Trivets are simply cropped in tighter, so you see fewer slats in the standard crop.
When it is time to clean the Dish, simply hand wash it in the sink with warm water and dish soap. I've tested the silicone feet extensively, and they won’t budge, even after using the stone in the freezer to serve cold dishes. Skip microwaving the stone or washing it in the dishwasher. But if you do want to warm it in the oven, keep the temperature below 125°, to prevent losing the feet.
- Non-absorbent polished surface from skillful diamond grinding. In addition, food-safe chemical sealer (approved by EU) penetrates microscopic pores to prevent stains and makes it easy to clean.
- Use as a dinner plate or serving board, a trivet for something hot, a plant, or for dangerous items like candles
- Safe (and recommended for!) chilling in fridge or freezer
- Stone is a conductive heat sink and will help to defrost frozen food, and the stone maintains consistent temperature inertia.
- Direct food contact will not discolor your dish, but strong acids may temporarily cause a chemical reaction with soft black stones for example. This does not impact its food-safe properties.
- Not designed for microwave, or dishwasher use. If warmed in oven, such as pre-heating your board, for a bed warming stone, please stay below 125° or risk losing your silicone feet
IMPERFECTIONS AND GUARANTEE
- Fieldstones have minor, non-structural fissures, pocks, scratches, chips, and other superficial flaws I call beauty marks. I’ve tested each of these marks to ensure the piece is not at risk of damage.
- Food-Safe Dishes, Boards, and Bowls include food-safe resin to fill most such voids, but Coasters and Trivets remain all natural
- Charcuterie board workmanship is guaranteed for life
A FARM-TO-TABLE STORY
About 8,000 years ago, icy glaciers pushed boulders into the soil of America’s Northeast. As a result, a fresh crop of rocks ‘grow’ each spring when the winter’s freeze-thaw cycles force buried stones upward, a process called granular convection.
In the 1890s, before the railroads opened up rock-free farmlands in other parts of the United States, farmers removing stones from their fields piled them into what eventually became 215,000 miles of stonewalls, a distance greater than from the earth to the moon!
These stonewalls became the folklore of poets like Robert Frost, and the landscape of the Northeast United States. Because clearing rocks is never complete, American Stonecraft ® partners with working farms to sustainably harvest their fresh rocks and transform them into functional heirlooms.
Not only does this endeavor share geology that has never been seen before, but it helps support working farms, preserving open space and protecting the stonewalls that are so iconic to this region.
Like many of us, the founder of American Stonecraft ®, Gerald Croteau, fell in love with these archaeological stone ruins. Having practiced for a time as an economist, he saw the opportunity to add value and up-cycle unwanted farm produce as a rock gleaner.
Gerald founded American Stonecraft ® in his late 20s after seeing the inside of a fieldstone for the first time after a lifetime of seeing them only from the outside. He was amazed at what he had overlooked for so long, and realized that there was a sustainable supply of these rocks that he could help farmers share at their farm stands.
Diamond tools enable him to reveal amazing colors, patterns, and geologies in the humble New England farm-gathered fieldstone that he wanted to help share with others. He applied the mantra, if not him, then who?
Gerald rolled up his sleeves, bootstrapped his life as an independent craftsman, touring at local arts and crafts shows, and taught himself how to make the fascinating products that still enchant him today. Each piece is signed by its maker, and produced under Gerald’s direct supervision if not by Gerald himself.