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Creatively Speaking - Carved in stone

By Robin Van Der Vleuten

Carved in Stone is a masonry technique Jordan Clements has mastered since he first began his masonry journey in high school. As a 'hippie' kid, he loved reading about edible wild plants that ironically put him on his masonry path.

"I noticed some edible plant books were missing from the shelf in the library and I wondered who else was signing these books out. One day, I saw a man returning them. I struck up a conversation and found out he was a mason and needed some help."

Being at loose ends, Jordan started to work for him, spending his day hammering, chiselling, and shaping stones to fit into a 'dry stone' wall.

He obtained his Red Seal Certification (Canada's Trade Certification) at the Ontario Masonry Training Centre and completed his formal apprenticeship. Schooling continued with each facet of the masonry field he encountered. He used transferable skills of carving leaves and faces in stone to create architectural ornaments, making clay models as a reference. Captivated by the world of sculpture, he studied drawing at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto to enhance his knowledge of drawing the human form.

"Life drawing helps develop your eye for shape recognition, but it is a different game entirely to create the illusion of the third dimension on a 2d surface," stated Jordan.

From renting a small space in a barn to renting a place in Port Perry, Jordan's business has grown. He services masonry companies who need architectural ornament or details carved into stone and the monument industry. Jordan does commission work, such as portraiture and fine art pieces.

"If the client has a vision, I can tailor it to meet their needs. There are different stones, not just marble, which I carve, but also sandstone. I can import stuff, but to me, it seems right and proper to use our local material, especially if it is as beautiful as marble."

Marble, metamorphosed limestone which has been squeezed and heated through a geological process, is what Jordan enjoys working with. It's his goal to find and utilize Ontario marble, focusing on life-size figurative work.

"Finding it is half of the joy. I got my prospector's licence, and I have staked a couple of claims, which involves hiking through the bush and clearing off overburden, soil and moss to get samples."

Although Jordan uses traditional techniques for his work, he is interested in utilizing new technologies like 3d scanning and printing. He does not want to see traditional techniques disappear but sees the value in technology. "It is a useful tool to merge with the traditional techniques and tools. Rather than shying away from technology, incorporate it."

Contact Jordan (Jordan Clements@clementscutstone) if you are interested in having something Carved in Stone.

Robin Van Der Vleuten is a retired teacher, children's author, artist, and photographer. (

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