Message For The Ages

Messages For The Ages, Using A Chisel, Not The "Send" Key
Susan Guerrero
New York Times
New England Edition
02-07-2002

Using A Chisel, Not The "Send Key"

In a time of sandblasted lettering and laser carving, Karin Sprague, 37, of North Scituate, R.I., is one of the very few artisans who still carve gravestones the old-fashioned way: by hand, with mallet and chisel.

Her clients share her appreciation of the 17th- and 18th-century markers that now list in many a New England cemetery -- stones with flowing italic or beautifully spaced block lettering, sentimental verses, skulls, cherubs, weeping willows and stray chisel marks.

"None of the letters match, and if you look closely, you can see the hand of the carver," Ms. Sprague said. "Some of them really poured their souls into it."

One woman in northwest Connecticut commissioned her to redo all the stones in the family plot. Ms. Sprague also carves more contemporary -looking stones, including one for an artist who wanted to see hers while she was still alive.

The cost is $3,000 to $12,000, and the wait is about a year; (401) 934-3105 or www.karinsprague.com.

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© 2002 The New York Times