Upholding the â€œLost Artâ€ of Stone Carving
Tucked away among the sprawling plains of Florence, TX, is Texas Carved Stone - a company comprised of a very talented group of artisans that all share the same passion for carving stone. These craftsmen, who hail from all around the country, specialize in architectural carvings in limestone.
The company, which was started in 1987 by Bob Ragan and Mary Condon, is comprised of the two owners and six carvers. As founding members of the Stone Carvers Guild - a group of independent-working professional carvers throughout the U.S. - the owners are careful in their selection of employees. Condon, who handles the business aspect of the company, explained that in the beginning, it was more challenging to find skilled artisans, but now that the company has built a reputable name for itself, carvers are coming to them.
Ragan began his career as a stonemason, before dedicating all of his time to studying and perfecting the craft of carving. “I began carving limestone as a hobby, with a sharpened screwdriver and a ball peen hammer,” explained the head designer and carver. “On my next birthday, Mary bought me a full set of fine Italian hand tools and a block of Carrara marble.”
Ragan quickly realized that the milling industry was understandably more interested in large projects. “I noticed that many smaller specialty projects ended up on the back burner, and I realized that work was my niche.”
Ragan and his skilled team carve in the traditional, classical, European manner. He explained that meticulous attention to detail is paid to each piece.
In addition to custom residential work, the company’s portfolio includes a number of altars for Catholic churches as well as some restoration work. The majority of the restoration projects are for courthouses in Texas.