As this year quickly comes to a close, the team at Kansas City Masonry reflects with great pride on their impressive list of projects completed this year, including The Logan Clendening fountain at KU Medical and the historical restoration of the Vanderslice mansion at The Kansas City Art Institute.
And as 2017 begins, our company will continue to be the region’s foremost masonry contractor, providing superior workmanship for both restoration and new build projects, installation and repair projects, and stone and water feature projects for both residential and commercial clients.
With an ingrained passion and dedication to the craft of true masonry, Kansas City Masonry greets the new year with colossal optimism and an intense focus on restoring the past, building the present and preserving the future.
What is an art? What is a craft? What’s the difference?
The definitions of art and craft are not uniform, but in Western Europe crafts predate the arts. A time long ago when there was a focus on the beauty in the world, and if you had the talent to make something beautiful, or at least the ability to learn to make something beautiful, you apprenticed at a trade guild. Metalsmiths, architects, weavers, carpenters, these were the artists of their time, each forming into a guild of tradesmen under a master craftsman, who designed the craft..
Masonry is the art and craft of building and fabricating in stone, clay, brick, or concrete block. Construction of poured concrete, reinforced or unreinforced. The craft of stonemasonry (or stonecraft) has existed since humanity could use and make tools- creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth. They were beautiful, made to exact, repeatable designs and specifications from the master, meeting all standards set by the guildmaster, created by the craftsmen, and assisted in their craft by their apprentices. The value of it was that it was recognizable. It carried the master’s trade mark.
Medicine, while founded in science, has long been called an “art.” Likewise, the delivery of medical care is known as “practice,” though it will likely never be made perfect. Medicine is part science. Part art. The relationship between physicians and patients is at the core of healing.
Over time the world changed, and the emphasis shifted from the work to the worker. The artwork was absolutely valuable, but more because it was a unique expression of the experiences of the artist or an interpretation of the beauty the artist saw. The crafts sliped away to be repeatable to exacting, high standards.
1.Art is a work created by the accumulation of experience, skill, expressible point of view, and is entirely unique.
2. Craft is work created by the skills and experience of a skilled artisan meant to meet and conform to exacting standards of the Master.
Stonemasonry is one of the earliest craft in civilization’s history. During the time of the Neolithic Revolution and domestication of animals, people learned how to use fire to create quicklime, plasters, and mortars. They used these to fashion homes for themselves with mud, straw, or stone, and the CRAFT masonry was born.
“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.” This phrase comes from the first two lines of Aphorismi , which was written by the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. What he meant by these lines is: “It takes a long time to acquire and perfect one’s expertise (in, say, medicine) and one has but a short time in which to do it.”
Much celebrated and most distinguished physician, scholar, and writer, Dr. Logan Clendening, was recently once again honored posthumously with a fountain on the campus of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City.
Two years after Logan Clendening’s untimely death in 1945, 600 people gathered for the dedication of a fountain which was placed in the KU Medical Center courtyard as a memorial to the prominent KU physician and benefactor of the world renowned Clendening History of Medicine Library. The interior wall of the fountain was inscribed: “Life is Short – and the Art is Long to the memory of Logan Clendening, 1884-1945, from his friends.”
Sixty-seven years later, in 2014, the irreparable Clendening Fountain was dismantled and carefully placed in storage.
In 2016, Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co created, built and erected a custom fountain in front of the entrance to Murphy Hall, KU Medical’s oldest building, where the first fountain stood. The words, ‘Life is Short and the Art is Long’ is engraved into real limestone caps on the fountain. Distinctive Caduceus symbols are on each of the two columns with Scottish thistle at the top of each serpent. Custom tile adorns the fountain’s facade.
The project was a labor of pride and respect for the team. With a fierce dedication to the art of masonry and a passion for the craft’s beauty, the company took it as a tremendous privilege to have a hand in honoring Dr. Clendening as one of the ‘greats’ in Kansas City history.
Upon his death, many were saddened by the loss. “It is hard for those who knew him to realize that the blithe spirit that was Logan Clendening is gone,” theStarpondered. “No one could have enjoyed life more than he. Few have contributed more to make life sparkle for others in conversation and writing.” “It seems difficult to think of Logan as gone,” Landon Laird wrote in the Kansas City Times. “The happier imagination is that he is just around the corner, waiting to greet one with his hearty laugh and his offer of ‘Let me show you the sights around here.’” And Vincent Starrett, years later, pronounced the final word on the subject: “Logan Clendening was one of the finest human beings I ever knew.”
Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co is immensely proud to add the Logan Clendening Memorial Fountain to its impressive portfolio of projects. The company revels in not only being able to contribute to the historical restoration of some of region’s finest properties, but also in creating lasting tributes and timeless structures to carry Kansas City and and the city’s surrounding areas boldly and eloquently into the future.
The possibility of a future discovery in a time capsule greatly exists. Maybe the Baker Street Irregulars or Logan Clendening’s love for Sherlock Holmes will some day Reveal It…
Definition of ‘Trade Union’: Labour unions or trade unions are organizations formed by workers from related fields that work for the common interest of its members. The key phrase is ”common interest of its members” with little to no mention of quality and workmanship . Workmanship has been moving further and further down the supply chain since the Trade Union Act of 1871, which had given the unions legal status and thereby allowed them to take over the training and social functions which the Guild had previously enjoyed
Masonry projects are a balance between cost, time and quality. It is possible to have high quality and low cost, but at the expense of time, and conversely to have high quality and a fast project, but at a cost. If both time and money are restricted, then quality is likely to suffer.
Workmanship has come under particular scrutiny recently as building regulations, and trade union wages have become more onerous and the standard of specification has increased. As a result, low-quality workmanship and materials are the norm.
Operative Wages: CornWine Oil. Corn, wine and oil were the Masonic wages of our ancient brethren.
Corn, wine and oil were the wages paid our ancient brethren, they were the “master’s wages” in the days of King Solomon. Masons of this day receive no material wages for their labors; the work done is paid for only in coin of the heart and for the craft, but those wages are no less real. How much we receive today and what we do with our wages depends entirely on our Masonic work.
The Masons Co Inc is resurrecting Guild masonry before all of the secret methods, traditions and practices are lost forever. Our focus is on preserving the strong links between medieval operative masonry and today’s Craft masonry which should be preserved.
For all of us then, corn, then wine and then oil are symbols of sacrifice, of the fruits of labor, of wages earned. No doubt the charge administered to all Masons and which contains the following clause accounts for the loss of many members of our Society in today’s Trade Unionism.
Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient Egyptian construction.
Lime mortars were the norm for centuries, and the secret of the perfect mix for any given situation was passed from father to son and from craftsman to apprentice over generations; the techniques also varied considerably across the country to suit the nature and performance of predominantly locally-sourced materials. There were few textbooks and no formal training. It was a matter of tradition and instinct supplemented by generations of experiment and sound experience.
This chain of knowledge was severely interrupted by the First World War and the near-universal adoption thereafter of stronger, faster-setting and consistent (but not always appropriate) cement-based mortars. To a large extent, today’s craftsmen have had to rebuild that knowledge base from scratch. But what if we have placed too much trust, and not enough understanding, in surviving texts, rather than analyzing the sound evidence of centuries-mortar— http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/mythmix/mythmix.htm
Is there anything freer than chalk?
Where does one get one’s Cement?
That Cement is Brotherly Love and Affection comes from “Heart Work.” This is a major focus of the operative . With its focus upon Values, Morality, Divestment and Investment, Masonic Cement is slowly but surely created by the Masons so doing this Work.
But isn’t Cement just “Symbolic?” Speculative Speaking
Masons might assume that all this Masonic Cement talk is just Symbolic. They might assume that a literal translation would ever readily present itself should Masons try to find it within some Ritual. And should such Masons ever assume that Masonic Cement is just Symbolic, they would be very wrong.
Investigating the compounds necessary to bring about Cement requires exploration into the many types of Cements commonly used over the years. There are multitudes of mixtures that have been used in the past with the most widely spread formula being those used in Ordinary Portland Cement. The basic compounds that produce OPC come from limestone, alumina, silica and ferric sources. When properly prepared and appropriately mixed together with water, it creates a viscous fluid that readily hardens into solids with the utmost of Integrity.
Interestingly enough, the compounds required to create Cement are mentioned within Lectures throughout the World. Moreover, it is amazing to this Mason that it is a rare operative mason who knows this, especially since the Cement of Brotherly Love and Affection is such an overly emphasized articulation echoed throughout Masonic Work.
Let’s explore the making of Cement and see if you might guess where the “ingredients” are hidden within Operative Ritual.
One step toward making Cement is to take Limestone and remove Carbon Dioxide from it. This is usually done by breaking the material up and subjecting it to an intense heat source. At temperatures of 900 degrees centigrade, lime is created. Removal occurs more quickly at 1000 degrees though. Higher temperatures are counterproductive since something called, “dead-burn” lime is created which is nonreactive for Cement production purposes.
Coincidentally, charcoal burns at 1100 degrees centigrade. With this temperature being achieved, it can easily be used to raise the temperature of limestone to the necessary tipping point where it gives up its carbon dioxide. Doing so creates a compound called “Lime” or Calcium Oxide. This compound is used to create Lime Mortar, Roman Cement(1) and OPC.
For those of you who might not make the connection, Limestone is common Chalk.
Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay Chalk by Anthony A Reyes
Guilds are and have always been associations of artisans or merchants who control the practice of their craft in a particular town. The earliest types of guilds were formed as fraternities of tradesmen. When organized, these groups transformed into part professional association, part trade union, part cartel, and part secret society. The Operative Masons | Masonic […]