Look Inside

Stone by Design

by Lew French
Photography by Alison Shaw
Published by Gibbs Smith
Hardcover. 9.5" x 11.5", 160 pages

A stunning tribute to the work of island stonemason Lew French and his unique vision and craft. This coffee table book celebrates both the function and form of stone.

“Calling Lew French’s work masonry is like referring to Michaelangelo’s as stone-cutting."
    – Seattle Times

“When Lew French made his first stone fireplace at age nineteen, he didn't expect to feel so drawn to the simple material. Twenty-eight years and countless projects later, he still feels awed by the presence stone has in a well-designed setting, whether it's an artfully rendered remodel of a writer's stone studio, a playful fireplace, or a carefully crafted garden pathway. This first collection of French's work, filled with artistic inspiration for your own home or landscape, is a study in contrast: contemporary hearths of rustic slate, sculptured walls of both great granite slabs and stacked, rounded fieldstones. More than 130 gorgeous photographs by Alison Shaw illustrate the beauty of French's pieces and invite you to see how rounded fieldstone, grey slate, rough granite, and even curvy driftwood, are incorporated into stunning pieces of functional art. Throughout, French narrates the charming stories behind the projects: how an idea came to be; how a stone-splitting technique is executed; even how one of his most difficult pieces, a three-year-long project, was saved from ruin just in the nick of time, the day it was completed. Stone by Design is the perfect inspiration for anyone interested in adding the beauty of stone to their own home or landscape.”
    – from the cover of Stone by Design

"Lew French's uncannily beautiful and seemingly timeless works in granite, slate and fieldstone transform the nature and quality of space both indoors and out. He walks us through his projects, telling us of their genesis, and his, along the way. French's art is one that venerates both form and function. Alison Shaw's beautiful photographs document French's absolute mastery of masonry and reveal something of why anything, however humble, constructed from uncut and unshaped stones exudes magnificence and mystery."

    – Veranda

"A stunning collection that highlights the memorable work of one of America's finest stone masons. Simple and powerful, French's incredible sculptures evoke a near spiritual reaction. The book captures French's refreshingly homespun labor of love — readers will feel as though they've been to the quarry with the artist to pick out his materials and sweated under the sun to create the distinctive lines of his sculpture."

    – Kirkus Reports

"In this beautifully finished book, two of the Vineyard's artists and master craftsmen collaborate to showcase an art as timeless as humanity itself, the use of natural stone as an element of structural and artistic design."

    – Martha's Vineyard Times

"Man has been building with stone since ancient times, but it reaches new heights in the natural beauty displayed in Stone by Design."

    – Miami Herald

"Beyond the simple stone wall, French shows what amazing designs can be created with stones of different colors, shapes and sizes. Alison Shaw's photography records the breadth of the acclaimed stonemason's creations. The book will have you asking, "Where's the mortar?" And you thought stones were just for stacking."

    – Sarasota Herald Tribune


"Few will have the opportunity to have a French work in the home or the garden. Stone by Design is the next best alternative."

    – Vineyard Style magazine