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Preparing for Certification at the Stone Trust Center

The Stone Trust Center in Dummerston, VT hosted its first workshop of the season on a beautiful spring day. Five participants from across New England arrived for a practice test in preparation for a Dry Stone Walling Association Level 1 or Level 2 certification test. A Test Prep workshop early in the season allows time for candidates to plan their approach to test day. You leave knowing what to work on between now and test day. Will you be ready in May, or is it better to practice until September?

You arrive at a Test Prep workshop knowing how to build a freestanding wall (Level 1) or a vertical wall end (Level 2). You gain autonomy over your time and space, receiving focused instruction on how to approach your stint and your time in order to succeed on test day. At this workshop, instructor Michael Weitzner started with a few rules and pointers for how to go about the build. Then the wallers got started.

Every participant stripped out their stint quickly. Michael gave feedback about how they sorted the stone. He helped Level 1 wallers set up their batter frames. As is expected, the Level 2 wallers did this independently.  Once the batter was established, everyone proceeded to build their first lift, set throughstones, stack the second lift, and finish by coping the wall.

All three Level 1 candidates received passing marks. You are ready to take your test on May 22!

Level 2 candidates used this workshop as time-on-the- wall and practice for taking a test further down the road. The Level 2 test holds wallers to a significantly higher standard. The global walling community recognizes Level 2 Waller Certification as the professional standard. Wallers who accomplish their Level 2 have built significant stretches of freestanding wall face, alone and in the company of more skilled colleagues. In addition, the Stone Trust recommends that wallers build at least ten cheekends before taking the test. The amount of wall and the speed at which the Level 2 test must be completed requires a waller to be very familiar and practiced with their walling skills.

For expert guidance on preparing for the Level 2 test, please read Master Craftsman Brian Post’s article: Building for Success: Leaping the Level 2 Hurdle. And do plan to give yourself the time it takes to be ready. Keep in touch, so you know about time-on-the-wall opportunities. Consider posting a Help Wanted/Work Wanted notice, if you’re Level 1-certified and hoping to join a crew.

If you’re at the beginning of your pathway from Level 1 Waller to Master Craftsman, set your sights on a cheek end workshop or walling skills intensive. Again, keep in good touch. The Stone Trust will do our best to connect you to the people on the walls who can help you advance your skills.

No matter when you plan on testing, all of you benefited from experiencing test conditions under the guidance of a DSWA Assessor. As one of you said, “The Stone Trust empowers me to keep trying!” Glad to hear it! We aim to empower.

Thank you to instructor and assessor, Michael Weitzner for your time and effort in helping prepare wallers for test day. The more wallers who become certified, the better we can advance the art and craft of dry stone walling.