You may or may not know that The Stone Trust (TST) runs workshops in locations outside of New England. In the north central US, sustainable landscape designer Dan Peterson offers workshops at the site of TST corporate member Northland Landscape Nursery in Isanti, MN. Dan is also a TST professional member, certified DSWA-GB instructor, and a member of The Stone Trust Board of Directors.
On the past scorching Saturday and a windy Sunday, 3 women and 2 men joined Dan to learn and apply the basic principles of dry stone walling (how to use friction and gravity to create enduring structures). A third person had hoped to attend, but bowed out due to symptoms of COVID-19. He will join a future workshop. He was one of two people returning to add to the knowledge they gleaned at a 2019 2-Day Intro Workshop with Dan.
Saturday began with introductions. People shared their experience of walling and their motivations for attending. Three came inspired by visits to Ireland. A professional landscape designer and installer wants to add dry stone walling to his repertoire. One participant who works as a stone fabricator wants to build walls for personal satisfaction. Dan shared a brief history of stone with the group and the work began!
Day 1 focuses:
- wall decommissioning, which means take an existing wall apart; observe how it is constructed; lay out materials to create efficient working conditions
- install foundations
- discuss stringlines and batterframes
- build the first lift and set throughstones
- demonstrate tools: pins and feathers, aka feathers and wedges, aka wedges and shims
Day 2 focuses:
- complete installing throughstones and heart them (immobilize them by setting smaller stones in empty spaces)
- build second lift
- demonstrate and describe tool use; try shaping hammers, hammer drill, pins and feathers for shaping glacial erratics
- install cope stones, pin and seat them (hearting)
Instruction included recap of walling process and science/physics throughout.
Sunday ended with few questions, perhaps due to fatigue. Participants organized their own work share group to keep in touch with each others walling projects and progress. Dan reports, “Everyone was absolutely in great spirits and enthusiastic during the entire event, despite the heat on Saturday.”
Thanks to Harlee Hancock and Jaqueline Higgins for providing volunteer support for the workshop. Harlee helped by making sure everyone had stone available and placing stones with participants direction, since he was able to lift some of the larger stones the participants had difficulty. Jackie made sure everyone stayed hydrated with water and pedialite. It was hot! 95-103 degrees! Windy, too, on Sunday! Jackie also took workshop photos. Thanks very much to you both!
Thanks, too, to Northland Landscape Nursery for providing the site and for sharing their equipment.
Finally, thanks to those people who loaned shade canopies, tables, and chairs. It takes a lot of people to make a dry stone walling workshop happen!
Upcoming 2-Day Introductions to Dry Stone Walling:
Upcoming Introduction to Stone Shaping workshop: October 16, Dummerston, VT
For a course progression, please see our Curriculum in Dry Stone.