"Petrigraphy... Engraving On The Rock"
When I first started engraving nearly 2 decades ago... I started with engraving my fine line pen and inks on granite. The lines were so fine they were finer than the hairs on our heads. I named this fine line engraving, "Petrigraphs" or "Petrigraphy." It was my word and how I viewed the process.
As time progressed, I was asked by my favorite place in the world, San Juan Capistrano, California, to engrave HDP monuments, "Historical Depiction Process." I worked with wonderful people who helped me place Petrigraph granite engravings in dozens of places in San Juan Capistrano. Clients became good friends, people like Tony Forster, Mayor of San Juan and whose family once owned the Mission San Juan Capistrano. Don Tryon, a great friend and one of the most knowledgeable historicans in San Juan. I did several HDP's for Ken Friess, of Friess Construction and a man that was president of the Boys and Girls Club where we served together. San Juan, an incredible town, not only in their history, but in their hometown love and caring for others. It is the town that never forgot me after I moved away to have my own ranch over 15 years ago.
Below, you will see the name, Steve Sandland of Centra Corporation. Steve, Don and I worked closely on many HDP's... and I was even honored to have made seven, 200 year old concrete, rock mission type benches for Steve, along with so many other HDP's. I have to thank all my friends that you will meet in the brochures and photos below. They have trusted me with their most important projects and granite engravings... and I have been honored to be of service.
My many thanks for the friendship of so many officers and their family members. It is my hope that I may do many more monuments for Sheriff's, Police and FireFighter's, showing appreciation for the work that they do. I would like to call them "Appreciation Monuments". I will be doing the artwork for the Police and Fire Games taking place at the Ontario Convention Center in June. You can see details in my "Itinerary" section.
I also wish to thank my dear friend, and Sheriff-Coroner of Riverside County, Stan Sniff. You are a genuine human being and one of today's role models. I am honored and very blessed to know you. To all my friends, officers and firefighters, and to my special friends of Steamer 1, Dave and Barbara Hubert & Blaze... "God Bless & keep YOU All!
When I was asked by Riverside Sheriff's Association to engrave my first Sheriff monument for fallen Sheriff, James Evans, I was honored, but very saddened. My father had been LAPD and graduated from the academy in 1949. His name was Charles B. Cutts and I remember his graduation photo from the academy, as he was kneeling down in the middle of the first row. He was very proud to serve, but it was unfortunate that he was hurt very badly while a policeman, and passed away when I was 17. But before he left, he left me with all the responsibility and respectful teaching I would need for what God had in store for me as I grew into this line of work. When I was asked to do Jim Evans' monument, I became very close to Jim's wife, Mary Evans. I spent alot of time with her as she would tell me stories of Jim and how they met. One story in particular, broke my heart. On the day that was to be Jim's last, just before going to work that day, he was bouncing his 6 month old son on his knee. Jim was a cowboy at heart, and he was saying to his son, James, "Some fathers never get to see their son's grow up!" That was the day the bank in Norco was to be held up and to my knowledge is known as the worst bank robbery in the history of America.
Mary and son James, 19 years later. This is a newspaper photo of Mary,
James and I with Jim Evans monument.
Jim Cunningham of Riverside Sheriff's Association and I worked on the RSA monument together. Jim has a brilliant, quick mind, and it was an extreme pleasure to be "challenged" by all the things that this monument needed to convey. Jim had designed the 5 sided monument, height, weight, stone... he had this vision of what he wanted and it was my job to make it happen. I remember one incident where we were trying how to show EOW... The badges of the men on the monument are all historical and the badges of each man is the badge of his particular time in service next to their names. It was important for the most respectful reflection of the EOW day... as Jim and I pondered how to convey that day. As we were quietly thinking... Jim said, "I've got it!" That is how the black band on the monument were placed on many of the Sheriff's badges. It was an honor to work with such a man as Jim Cunningham and all at RSA. Each detail was strategic in the monument's birth and creation.
I met the Kuredjian family when I did the monument of Jake. It was at the entrance of Stevenson Ranch. Jake had answered a call in the residential area of the ranch. I remember meeting Jake's kind and so loving mother. I was so honored to have done his stone and the family was so grateful. I loved Jake's little mama as she bent down the kiss the stone... a mama's way of saying goodbye. Jake's captain, Donald Rodriquez, gave me a bumper sticker that said in essence, "We Will Never Forget 911" and had the police logo on the sticker. The monument was placed in October, just one month after 911. The bumper sticker was so important to me, I placed it in the window of my Grand Marquis that day. I told Captain Rodriquez that sticker will stay in the window of that car as long as I have the car. The sticker Captain Rodriquez, is still in my window and I remain true to my words, 10 years later.
I think what blesses me most about doing the work that I do, is my heart. It is not "just" engraving a monument. These men, servants who pass, become family to me. That is why I want to know their story. I take this responsibility "extremely" seriously. As in Mary's friendship, and so many other children and wife's that I meet... it is the respect that they deserve to have given the extreme sacrifice of service. Maybe it is partially because of my father and each time I do one of these for another officer, it is also respecting the service and what he had given also.
To Contact Katie West about information on granite engravings, monuments, walls, memorials, please email or call:
KatieWest@KatieWestArt.com or (951) 279-4278