Many thanks to the professional wallers who gave of their time and expertise on the Fourth of July to make it possible for The Stone Trust to safely teach people to build structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing stone walls. Over the years, each of them has supported us in many ways, as founders, board members, professional members, instructors, and friends in walling. A salute to their generous commitment.
In times that don’t require social distance for health safety, people participating in a 1-Day Introduction to Dry Stone Walling workshop work across a double-faced wall from each other. Each builds one face, together completing a stint 5 feet tall by 5 feet wide.
That’s what we did!
Fortunately, Jared Flynn, who manages the Dummerstone site, is always thinking ahead. He had already prepared the area for future retaining walls. So on July 4th, 9 professional wallers, all certified Stone Trust instructors , gathered to build workshop stints on ground readied by Jared. Two life partners and the Stone Trust Executive Director joined in.
Together we built 8 freestanding walls and got a good start on the 8 retaining wall sections we will need for the retaining wall workshop on July 17. We enjoyed plenty conversation, lots of sunshine (thanks to Theresa for being sure we had tents!), and plenty of liquids. At the end of a satisfying day, we know we’re ready for our July 11 Introduction to Dry Stone Walling, the first workshop since the pandemic shut everything down. With disappointment, several people have had to withdraw due to COVID-19. We are sorry! And we welcome two people from “safe counties” to take their spots.
Anyone running an organization understands the challenges of keeping safe and staying afloat in the current situation. In early April, we had to decide whether to bow out of programming in 2020 or continue to try to teach the many people who want to learn how to build dry stone walls. Our budget projections showed that we needed to offer workshops to ensure that The Stone Trust continues; workshop tuition makes up 60% of our income in a normal year.
We are so fortunate that our many supporters–workshop participants, basic members, professional members, corporate members, board members, instructors, and members of the public who share an appreciation for the art, craft, and tradition of dry stone walling–demonstrate generosity and flexibility. Everyone responds with patient good humor. Thanks to all of you for helping us keep going! Please consider supporting us financially by becoming a member. We welcome your donations, too!
Special thanks to our Operations Manager, Theresa Spear, a mistress of procurement and fulfillment who creates order and anticipates need, and has been ever patient and able to turn on a dime. The Stone Trust could not run workshops, support members, or ship books and tools without her! Please thank her when you get the chance.
What a challenge all of us face as we figure out how to go on with life while we protect ourselves, protect others, and control community spread! We will do our part to make it possible for you to join us at a workshop in August, September, October, or December. And we’re keeping our fingers crossed for the 21 people challenging themselves on our two Certification Test Days, September 17 and 18!
Again, may all of us across the country observe the practices that protect each of us and those around us, so we can all safely return to free movement. Please stay home when possible, avoid crowds, keep 6 feet of distance, wear a mask, wash your hands often, avoid touching your face. We hope to see you at a workshop soon!