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Ten Newly Certified Dry Stone Wallers: Building the Professional Walling Community in the Twin Cities

Stone Trust Contractors Intensive 2.60 Minnesota

The first Stone Trust Contractors Intensive for the Minnesota workshop space took place from October 10 through October 14. We had seven enthusiastic participants, most of whom had taken Stone Trust workshops in the past. All are landscape/hardscape professionals.

Monday and Tuesday were typical Minnesota mid-autumn weather with temperatures in the 60’s on Monday and 80’s on Tuesday. Tuesday was also exceptionally windy, with 40 mph gusts sandblasting all of us.

On Monday, everyone jumped right into stripping out and rebuilding about 60 feet of wall. Towards the middle of the day on Tuesday, the wall was rebuilt and we had time to start shaping some additional cope stones and organize the space for the timed practice run on Wednesday. Pierce Edmiston ambitiously tackled shaping several through-stones out of a 1-ton basalt boulder he purchased and donated to the site for future wall use.

For the practice test on Wednesday, the weather turned to 45 degrees with wind and rain. Everyone powered through the damp weather and finished their practice run within the test time. Thursday was a bit more relaxed. We did some stone shaping, creating additional through-stones and cope stones. We also engaged in an afternoon round table discussion on business practices, approaches, material notes, and other matters of interest to professional wallers.

Friday was the big day. In addition to the seven Intensive participants, three other wallers arrived to take their timed level one test. Again, the weather was chilly with snow in the morning and throughout the day. Michael Weitzner and I had never seen an entire group of candidates strip out their test stints in less than a half an hour, and be into setting foundation stones almost as fast. The day progressed on track with everyone finishing their test stints before the 7 hour mark. Everyone passed – a big congratulations to Anna, Claire, Cooper, Cullen, Jack, Kurt, Matt, Nathan, Pierce and Rowan! I look forward to seeing them all progress in dry stone craftsmanship.

The quantity of wall that can be built during one of these intensives is impressive. Between all of the tearing down and rebuilding the participants built about 250 feet of wall in a week.

As always, a huge thank you to Northland Landscape and Nursery for hosting the Stone Trust workshop space. Thanks to Daniel Arabella for co-instructing. Thanks to Michael Weitzner, Dry Stone Walling Association Assessor and Master Craftsman, for traveling to Minnesota to assess the Level 1 candidates. And thank you to Jackie Higgins for volunteering time for the workshop.

Regards and Happy Walling-
Daniel Peterson