Participants at the June 11 & 12 Introduction to Dry Stone Walling brought varied experience. Several of you had split and shaped stone or built walls and foundations with preformed materials. A few of you brought contracting and landscaping experience to the learning experience. Virtually all of you describe yourselves as beginners (with one enthusiast–maybe more than one now!). And you report having learned what you came for–an understanding of how to build a freestanding wall that withstands the test of time, that stands against the forces of gravity and friction.
A couple of you have some reservations about putting what you learned into practice. That’s what it will take–practice. A woman we know–a recently certified Dry Stone Walling Association Level 1 Waller–said at the end of her test, “Every time I touch a stone I learn something.” Practice the five basic rules printed on the yellow card you took home, and the concepts taught by Pete and Mike will become ever more evident.
What you learned about building freestanding walls applies to retaining walls, too. Of course there are also plenty of other considerations when you are building to hold back the soil. The intro course gives you the basics, instructors do their best to respond to your questions, and for more direct answers a retaining wall workshop may be in order. Articles and books can help, too.
Several people expressed further interest in learning to shape stone. Again, an intro workshop gives some exposure. A dedicated stone shaping workshop provides context and teaches specific skills.
Thanks very much for coming from near and far. Every one of you took away knowledge that helps to preserve the craft of dry stone walling. We appreciate your support.
Thanks, too, to Pete Ryder and Mike Papile for sharing what they know about this art and craft. It takes a lot to become a Level 2 Waller, and more to become a waller-teacher. The Stone Trust is grateful for their commitment to passing on the tradition.