On a cool, moist, overcast Friday, we combined the July 17 Introduction to Dry Stone Walling and Contractors Intro into one workshop taught by Pete Ryder and Andras Lazar. Needless to say, walling experience among the 10 participants encompassed a large range from none to minimal to decades.
For one woman who recently joined a landscaping company last spring, the Intro workshop is a first course in a professional development plan she has devised with guidance from The Stone Trust, using our Curriculum in Dry Stone. Her plan includes the Level 1 Certification Test in September. Another participant brought his powers of observation, some informal experience building dams, and a desire to apprentice with an experienced waller. (Let us know if you’re interested!) Other participants came with deeper experience: some landscaping professionals, one architect, several masons with decades of stonework under their belts (one with DSWA-GB Level 2 Certification), another enthusiast with ten years of wall-building on his property. Introductory workshops often encompass a range of motivations and experience.
The new social-distance freestanding walls worked. Participants appreciated the opportunity to work on their own section, to gauge their independent skills. Both students and instructors enjoyed the individual coaching that the format inspires. All appreciated the positive environment and a creative, hands-on approach to problem-solving. Contractors especially cited the value of business discussions and instructive details on rules and efficiency.
Students appreciated instructor feedback. Instructors are attentive to student feedback, too! As we adapt to the new format, we will attend carefully to your input: teach terminology early and often, add a physical demonstration to verbal and visual instruction, and ask instructors to look at completed walls very closely. Stone Trust instructors support each other to improve their instruction. We’ll do our best!
The new format requires a lot more set-up/take-down time. In the transition, we forgot to take a workshop photo! Apologies. We love to send you a photo of yourselves and your completed work.