Inside the Studios
Founder and creator Howard B. Taylor had collected rocks for more than 50 years, bringing home specimens he found while working as a surveyor. Rock-hound friends also donated rocks to the building of the Living Rock Studios.
The studios is made of concrete, local agates, petrified wood, and flagstone. The massive round building contains an estimated 800 tons of rock.
Just inside the entrance there are columns of petrified wood that rise near a stone fireplace. Taylor cemented pieces of lava shale, sandstone, obsidian, quartz, and agate into the walls leading up to the second floor.
The central pillar of the building is in the shape of a tree and stand two stories high with branches that extend out to support the ceiling. The tree was built with an outer layer of petrified wood. The core of the tree was created with an assortment of crystals. Taylor named the large rock tree The Tree of Life.
Rocks were not only used in the construction of the studios but are also on display throughout the building. Taylor sealed specimens such as quartz, iceland spur, naterlite, and dogtooth into Folger’s Crystals coffee jars and then embedded them into the wall of the ramp leading to the second floor.
Many of the rocks used in the studios’ construction are now available for purchase in the Rock Shop such as jasper, agate, obsidian, petrified wood, and others. While some are sliced and polished, others are still raw and unpolished.
Nancy Bergerson, Taylor’s eldest daughter, contributed dried floral arrangements throughout the building. Gail Koozer, the second eldest daughter, contributes financially to the studios and assists in leading guided tours of large groups that visit the studios throughout the year. The youngest daughter, Penny Mackey, showcases her fiber art skills with a 450 square foot hand painted fiber art canopy. The canopy was created to give the Tree of Life, which supports the ceiling, the illusion of a full canopy of beautiful green leaves. It is suspended from the ceiling on the second floor.