Lew French, The Rock Master

Hunting for rocks is fairly easy. Rocks don't run, they're dumb as themselves, and common as stone. But the tricky part is recognizing which rocks to keep and which rocks to throw back ...

Clearly, 49-year-old Lew French knows a good rock when he sees one.

Technically, he's a stone mason, but calling French a stone mason is like calling Michelangelo a ceiling painter. To him, stones aren't just building blocks; they're puzzle pieces. And when he sets one against another, they fit so seamlessly that it's almost as if the earth made them to be together.

"Stone has to fit to stone," he told CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman. "I mean, I personally can't live with a piece that doesn't fit to the other piece."

Naturally, French can make fireplaces so grand and regal, you almost think they should come with a crown. His work is so warm and inviting that an actual fire would almost detract. But here on Martha's Vineyard, where French lives and does most of his work, you'll also find a wide range of other wonders.

His latest project is an indoor wall for architect Robert Stern.

"The whole surface actually goes three stories high," he said.

As usual, he has assembled thousands of stones to choose from. As usual, he has hand-picked every one. And, as usual, without chiseling or altering the face of the stone in any way, he will make sure they all fit perfectly, no matter how long it takes.

to watch French at work.
  • CBSNews

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