The Salem Oolitic Limestone Belt runs through Monroe County, and as we walk to our classes, we pass great limestone buildings. Limestone benches throughout campus offer places to sit and visit with friends and colleagues.
In 2012, IU’s Traditional Arts Indiana conducted a folklife survey focused on the limestone workers in the region. We interviewed carvers, draftsmen, blacksmiths, and quarry workers and learned about their occupational arts. This information resulted in a traveling exhibit, Limestone Traditions: Stoneworking in South-Central Indiana, which toured to various locations in Lawrence, Owen, and Monroe counties. When @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet was announced as the theme of the 2015 Themester, we knew we had to do a campus program about the occupational arts associated with this local industry.
This one-day event will take place on Thursday, Sept. 17, from noon to 3 p.m. at the museum (416 N. Indiana Avenue) and will include cutters, carvers, letterers, and draftsmen from the region. At 2 p.m., the artisans will share stories and insights into their work. In addition, the exhibit Limestone Traditions: Stoneworking in South-Central Indiana will be on display all day at the museum.
Among the limestone workers demonstrating are:
- Matt Bruce works at Architectural Stone Sales in Bedford, Ind., and is known for his imaginative carvings of giant folding pocketknives and scissors. He will be on hand to let visitors try their hand at carving.
- Amy Brier is an Indiana Artisan member and is known for her work with the Indiana Limestone Symposium.
- Scott Todd is a stonecutter at Architectural Stone Sales in Bedford. Kent Todd, Scott’s son, is a draftsman and recently did work on IU’s new Stadium Tower. Like many limestone workers, both Scott and Kent are bluegrass musicians and will play during the Mathers event.
- Casey Winningham is a self-taught carver who works with only chisel and mallet to create historical monuments and replicas of period gravestones.
- William Galloway is a respected carver and artist who has worked on the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. He was selected to design and carve the 2013 Governor’s Arts Award and owns Angello Stone in Bedford.
This program will be free and open to the public, and is sponsored by Fall 2015 Themester @Work: The Nature of Labor on a Changing Planet, the Indiana Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.