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Lisa Ponder

"I'm not just a gravestone carver," says memorialist Lisa Ponder. "I'm a person who preserves stories of individuals and communities." A seventh-generation American, she learned her own family stories on childhood visits to a cemetary in Red Lick Mountain, Arkansas. Ponder herself grew up in Chicago. "My equvalent of a baby-sitter was art classes at the Art Institute," she recalls. When viola studies at Oberlin ended with a tendon injury, she studied economics and later graduated from the U of Texas Law School. She came to Eugene in 1982 to study the history of legal reform. She also had three sons and became a stay-at-home mom while writing a book about abolishionist Lydia Child. In 1992, she went back to school in graphic design at LCC, where she discovered stone-carving in an internship. "I was fascinated by the texture, color, and shape of stone," says Ponder, who started her own business, Heritage Stone, in 1998. "Even the typeface affects the perception of the story." Ponder's community story-telling projects include the basalt Kalapuya Talking Stones at Alton Baker Park and the granite paving stones and marble slabs at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 3 November 2005

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