The Stone Trust, PA just finished the 2023 workshop season with a December Contractors Intensive. Seven wallers earned their Level 1 certification. This initial certification establishes that the wallers can execute the basic principles of building a structurally sound, freestanding dry stone wall. This certification places emphasis on sound and solid construction rather than on finished quality.
You may ask, “How are workshops being held in the winter?” The Stone Trust, PA added a large barn to their site to provide the Stone Trust with an indoor learning space that allows wallers to learn year-round. Professionals can take advantage of your off season to add to their portfolio of skills the next season of work. Thank goodness for the barn and the wood stove! It provided heat for the wallers to get through the first four days of the workshop. Test day was warm enough that the wood stove wasn’t necessary. Test days also have a way of keeping the wallers warm, as they have to move quickly to complete the test in the allotted time.
Six wallers joined this workshop from all over the East, including New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Ohio, and even Ontario! Two of you came to this workshop with a background in landscaping, one of you had experience trail building, and others were beginners in dry stone. Because of the longer structure of this workshop, you were able to talk to your instructors about your projects and future interests. Across the first four days, you learned and practiced stripping out and rebuilding a wall with your classmates, you did a practice test, and learned business fundamentals and stone shaping on the rest day before test day. Day five was test day, where one waller joined from Massachusetts to try to earn his Level 1 certification. The Stone Trust offers the opportunity to test with the Contractor’s Intensive participants at many of our sites. This allows wallers to have other testing opportunities in addition to the May and September test days at the Stone Trust Center.
Dean McLellan traveled from Canada to assess all seven wallers for Level 1 certification, and at the end of the day, everyone passed! Some of you expressed interest in continuing your certification to Level 2. We hope to support you on that journey with our Cheek Rebuild workshops or Cheek End Intensives. Level 2 is a big step up from testing for Level 1, so you may be interested in reading “Leaping the Level 2 Hurdle” by Brian Post.