About Monumental Stone & Brenda Lucas

With almost 20 years experience in monuments, memorials, headstones, and gravestones, Brenda brings a wealth of creativity and sensitivity to her clients. She understands that you've most likely lost someone who you loved deeply, and the monument that will stand as their eternal remembrance needs to reflect who they were, as well as serve as a comfort to those left behind.

Brenda is an artist in her own right who expresses her talents in a variety of mediums from sculpture and painting to glass etching and photography. Her creativity is at your disposal when something truly unique is needed to do justice to the memory of your lost loved one, but she also brings business sense to the table and understands that for most of us, budget is also a concern.

Brenda truly enjoys meeting with her clients, hearing their stories and assisting them in this vital step toward closure.

Monumental Stone Works owner and operator Brenda Lucas - designer of custom and unique gravestones, headstones and memorials

Free In-home Consultations

We'll come to you! If you're grieving, that's the last time you want to be going to a funeral home to arrange for a headstone or other memorial. Even if what you need is not related to the loss of a loved one, we're still happy to come to you. Free quotes and no obligation.

newspaper article flattened

From Brenda's Time in Nelson, B.C.

Business Profile

NELSON DAILY NEWS

Friday, March 28, 2003 — PAS

Monumental Stoneworks A career carved in stone

 

The last time you visited a graveyard, did you wonder how the gravestones were put in place? If so, you probably assumed that the heavy markers — some of them enormous — were carved and put there by someone who was big and strapping, with bulging biceps and a strong back and shoulders. And most likely male. "I get that from a lot of people, actually," laughs Brenda Lucas. owner of Monumental Stoneworks. "I've had quite a few of the older men come in here and say, 'Can I talk to the person who actually does the work?' I'll stand there and let them go on about how much stone is here and how heavy it is and they start asking me what the weight of the stone is, and that's how it starts. Then I say, `Well, I'm the one that does it.' And they'll say, 'No, not you.' and they start laughing."

But Lucas doesn't mind their skepticism — she knows that using her high-powered sandblaster to carve the heavy stone suits her perfectly.

"It takes a while for them to be convinced, but it is different," she admits. "I've done all the office jobs. I'm a very strong person and I like doing things like this. It's just natural for me. I really like the hands-on stuff."

And she's been that way since she was a kid growing up in Quebec.

"I started painting on stones when I was little, selling them to the stores." recalls Lucas, who moved here in 1991. "Anything like that really interests me — hands-on stuff, getting messy, not really fine technical stuff. I never painted on canvas. I used to always paint on vases or rocks. I couldn't get my head around painting on something flat — it was just too conventional for me."

 

Lucas understands the irony of her current situation, though —gravestones generally have flat surfaces. But, they have excited her for a long time. "I've always been interested in graveyards — I used no hang out there as a kid," she says. She especially enjoys Nelson's cemetery. The wide assortment of gravestones, from the simple to the immense, makes it not only aesthetically pleasing, but easy to navigate.

"Even the upright ones like the marble, are just incredible:" she says. "I like that old look. When we went to Paris, we hung out in the graveyard there and it was cool. The sculptures are just fabulous. That's why I like the Nelson cemetery — it has a bit of that feel to it. They're not just all flat and you don't know where they are because they're all flat. So it has quite a unique character to it. It's a neat place to hang out."

Lucas began working width stone about seven years ago, involved with another local stone company. She left just over a year ago to start up Monumental in early 2002. Now, as well as custom designing grave markers, she designs pet memorials and even stone address signs for private homes — the latter with the help of a portable sand blaster. She is even equipped to clean up stones that may have become mossy over the years, making them look as good as new.

"I'll go up and clean and repaint the gravestone," she says. "If it's in a cement base, I'll redo the base — I'll break the base away and put a new cement slab down. Most of the stones in the graveyard, the one here in town, the mosses, the grass clippings over the years, tree droppings, all this kind of thing, the moss grows on there very thick and there's a lot you can't even read now. They're just so covered "

Stones aren't the only materials that Lucas works with, though. She recently began using her sandblaster — it's force reduced from 80 pounds per square inch to 40 — to etch glass. These may then be used in custom cupboard and cabinet doors.

"I used to always paint on vases or rocks. I couldn't get my head around painting on something flat it was just too conventional for me."

 

"I love what I'm doing and I'm using my artistic abilities in a positive way. I'm putting someone else's message out there using my talents. It's very fulfilling for me."

 

Stones aren't the only materials that Lucas works with, though. She recently began using her sandblaster — it's force reduced from 80 pounds per square inch to 40 — to etch glass. These may then be used in custom cupboard and cabinet doors.

To work with both glass and stone, Lucas draws on both her inherent artistic flair as well as the training she received in college in Ontario, which she didn't initially appreciate, taking only one year of a four-year graphic design course before heading to the Kootenays.

"I'm more of a loose artist," she explains. "I'm an oil painter, that kind of thing, and I just thought, `This is too technical for me.' Now, I'm doing graphic design, setting up the stonework."

Fortunately for Lucas, everything she learned that year is coming back to her and she finds it very useful.

"This is what I'm finding very interesting — I took graphic designing because I figured, then I can have a career in it," she recalls. "Once I got into it, I realized that it wasn't for me — I'm not a commercial artist. Now, it's come in 100 percent necessary to have had that experience."

This experience makes her job much easier, which she appreciates because it can be emotional at times. "It is difficult when somebody has just lost someone who is very close," she says. "But once you get talking to them, they start feeling comfortable talking about the person in a positive light, because a grave marker is for the living. It's not for the person who has passed away. So if you can get them comfortable with talking about that fact that it's a celebration of their life as opposed to a memorial for them, then it gives them a completely different feeling, they start enjoying the process better.

"They can come in, they can touch the stone, they can talk to me. I can talk to the people and get to know who the person was and get a feel for that person and that goes into the stone. It feels nice.

"I love what I'm doing and I'm using my artistic abilities in a pos-itive way. I'm putting someone else's message out there using my talents."

They feel like they're a part of the process as opposed to just ordering out of a catalog."

And she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love what I'm doing and I'm using my artistic abilities in a positive way. I'm putting someone else's message out there using my talents. It's very fulfilling for me."

Resources

If you require the services of a funeral home, we recommend those in the list at the right. These homes have established a reputation for professionalism and sensitivity to the needs of those who have lost a loved one. You can deal with any of these homes with confidence that you and your lost loved one will be treated with the utmost respect.