Nick Blantern is well known in the stone-carving industry.
In fact, the Lakewood resident may just be the best stonemason in the world.
He’s got the awards to prove it.
Blantern, who owns Lakewood-based British Stone Works, was recently honored in Las Vegas with this year’s Grand Pinnacle Award from the Marble Institute of America.
He also was given the prestigious Restoration Award.
“There are some good stone-carvers, but there aren’t too many really, really talented ones in the United States,” said the 41-year-old native of Great Brittain. “It’s nice to get some recognition for this level of talent. You don’t have to go Italy to find talent like this.”
The 41-year-old native of Great Britain will travel to Italy in September to officially receive the recognition.
Blantern is being honored for his work restoring the “Spirit of the Ocean” fountain at the Santa Barbara Courthouse in California — but he’s done work all over the US during his career.
He started out in Bristol, England, in the 1980s, where he cut his teeth in high-end stonemasonry at Buckingham Palace.
“I have always been very good with my hands,” Blantern said. “My father knew a stone mason and they goaded me. I ended up getting a four-year apprenticeship in England. It went from there, and I stuck with it.”
Since then, he’s worked on the homes of Hollywood’s rich and famous; he’s restored San Francisco City Hall; worked at the San Francisco Zoo; and most recently, the Cleveland Museum of Art.
“The job is extremely satisfying,” said Blantern. “It’s hard work, but it’s very satisfying. Electricians and plumbers, they’re work gets covered up. Even when I get back to England, my work is still there.”
Locally, in 2009, he worked to restore the Maple Cliffs wall — a structure older than the city itself — by taking half of the wall down then rebuilding it.
Blantern’s caught the attention of city leaders.
“We have many master craftsmen who live in Lakewood,” said Ward 4 councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan, who represents the ward where Blantern lives. “But who knew we had a man right here in Lakewood, who is being honored by the Italians — who are at the forefront of stone-carving and master craftsmanship.”