In the first part of our interview with Gerald Croteau III of American Stonecraft, we learned about Gerald's history with stones and how American Stonecraft turns stones into a crop. We resume our conversation with Gerald's current work with stone walls and the future of American Stonecraft:
Q: I understand you also do some work repairing some of the stone walls throughout New England. Can you say a little about that?
GC: We started a community service project called Mending Wall Day, which coincides with Robert Frost’s birthday on March 26. Frost was a New England poet, even though he was born in San Francisco. He wrote quite a few poems about the stone walls, one of which was called “Mending Wall.” So we named our project after that.
We inspired people to join our outing when the ground started to thaw. We started in Dunstable and we set out to repair old walls, build some new ones, and pick up the trash. I think this project really shows that New England is a special place to live.
Q: You just opened a new store in the Boston Public Market. What has that been like?
GC: The community we are a part of now inspired me to open up the store. Three years ago, it wasn’t anywhere on my radar. But Liz Morningstar (CEO of the Boston Public Market) and her team were doing a piece on New England agriculture focusing on food. It was tough to explain that fieldstones were as much a part of New England agriculture as food. But I knew it was a good connection. Now we are meeting people we would have never had a chance to meet before. It is really exciting.
Q: I’ve heard the place has been jumping since it opened.
GC: Crowded? Yes, a lot of people come through here. We are part of a community that makes cool stuff. It’s filled with cool people. There’s a community kitchen here and community classes. We make beautiful dishes, and we fit in here. If we had tried to build a storefront on our own, we would never have been as successful.
Q: What piece are you most proud of?
GC: It is a tie between the bowlder, which you know is a pun—
Q: I know, I love it.
GC: --and the table lamp. The table lamp is made from a fieldstone. It is egg shaped, made with a series of repeating horizontal cuts and replaced by a spine coming down the middle. You can see both the inside of the rock and how it changes, and the weathered exterior. It is a stunning insight into a rock. They take a lot of work to make, obviously. So that’s what I’m the most proud of. Slabs are the most appealing for most people, but I think the bowlders are a nice compliment. The lamp is the magnum opus.
Q: Gerald Croteau, what is your quinstance?
GC: I don’t know. I have to go with something not from me. Rustico, in fact. I met them at one of the shows we do.
They make a wool roll that can carry sunglasses, chargers, and the like. The wool roll helps me organize everything in my bag and keeps them from being crushed. And I always have a bag.
I love being tidy and organized. You need these small ways to keep things organized, especially since I’m on the road so much visiting all our farms.
I like being in the shop, but I love being out at the farms we partner with.
That’s vacation time for me. Gathering rocks.