In a world of computer set type and lighting quick turn around times Nick and his father John Benson are still cutting letters by hand in stone.
In a time honored process they paint each letter by hand, no stencils, no templates. They then gradually perfect the layout with the brush and ink on paper before copying it onto the stone.
Finally they cut the letters with a mallet and chisel. The shop and the work are simply not part of this century, the John Stevens Shop is one of the oldest continually operating businesses in the country. They primarily produce head stones but their work can also be found on America's most prominent buildings and monuments from the National gallery to the new FDR memorial.
The work of the John Stevens Shop follows in the legacy of early stones in Newport's Commom burying ground.
An example of the modern, refined work of the shop
Apprentice Adam Heller and Benson at work under the eye of tradition - Nicks grandfather looks out from an early painting depicting him with the tools of the trade and symbols of the his "Guild" of craftsmen.
Nick Benson beginning a layout as always with just a brush and ink on kraft paper