Kim Coggin, the United States’ first DSWA-GB Certified Level 2 Women Waller and instructor reflects on her journey and joy of drystone construction.
I’ve often been asked what got me started working with drystone.
I initially became interested in drystone about eight years ago while I was creating scagliola sculptures. Scagliola is the Italian art form of creating stucco and marble like finishes using gypsum, pigments and other ingredients. I had recently built a Japanese lantern that I wanted to place into a garden setting and so I began researching small stone walls, hedges, etc. It was then that I first learned of and became fascinated with the engineering aspects of drystone.
As I continued to learn about drystone I was impressed by some of the very unique attributes of this ancient craft. For instance when built correctly drystone structures are more durable and can last longer than comparable mortared work. Drystone works are environmentally friendly, they are “Green”. While working with drystone may look imposing, it is really quite simple and anyone can build beautiful and lasting works. Learning the proper techniques and guiding principles is the single most important aspect of starting out in the craft.
One of my goals is to teach and share this ancient craft which allows you to create works that will last not only your lifetime, but will be standing and handed down through the generations to your children and your children’s children.
Drystone is a living, breathing work of art. Drystone structures move and adjust to the frost heaves of winter, they allow natural drainage during the heavy rains of spring, and they provide living habitats year-round for small creatures and plants. These wonderful structures are otherwise modestly beautiful in their grace and simplicity.