Fourteen people came to experience the craft at a 1-Day Intro to Dry Stone Walling workshop on Sunday November 5. The group included several landscaping professionals and experienced masons who came to sharpen up their skills. Other stone enthusiasts are looking to tackle projects at their property. Among the group were one husband and wife team, and two brothers who were planning to renovate stone walls for their parents.
Instructors Dario Coletta and Victoria Merriman led the group. After introductions, Dario explained the structure of a dry stone wall and how to organize stone while taking apart the wall, then we got started stripping it out. Along the way, one participant found a Yoda toy that had been buried in the wall by someone in the previous day’s workshop. Everyone got a chuckle out of that.
Victoria explained the principles of dry stone walling, then everyone got to work setting foundation stones. Referencing a Queen song, one participant called them “fat-bottomed stones,” which became a running joke throughout the day—they really DO make the rockin’ world go round!
The group worked at a brisk pace. The foundations and first lift went in fast, and were sturdily built with the instructors’ guidance. We had throughstones in place and most of that course built by our lunch break. This afforded us some extra time to demonstrate some tools and techniques for shaping stone, so in the afternoon we kept tools available so participants could try them out.
Everyone kept up a good pace in the afternoon building the second lift. Yoda may or may not have been replaced inside the wall—only our spring workshop participants will know for sure.
We completed all of the wall’s courses (level layers of stone) with plenty of time to take a breather and do a tour of the stone features on the property. We talked more about the DSWA certification process and what timed tests and features are required for each level, pointing out examples of successful features along the way. After being inspired by lots of cool stonework, we returned to our wall, placing cover bands and copes to finish it off.
Despite it being the end of daylight savings time, we wrapped up and were able to take a group photo before it got dark. Everyone had a great time and many expressed interest in coming back for more workshops. Some of the professionals are hoping to get their Level 1 certification. We hope they do!