The sixteen women who attended the Women’s Introduction to Dry Stone Walling on Saturday reported results as happy as the expressions on their faces in the photo. We are so pleased! They came from near (New England) and far (Virginia) with a range of relevant experience–from landscape designer, professional gardener, and architect to little to no experience, apart from reading books, trips to the Cotswalds, DYI home projects, and hiring professionals. You could say there is general agreement that stone is “a fascinating medium,” as one participant opined.
Instructors Judy Rand and Hilary Dees, supported by volunteer instructor Victoria Merriman, garnered great reviews for their knowledgeable, attentive instruction in the 5 basic rules of dry stone walling. Participants expressed high confidence that they got the simpler concepts–avoid running joints and pin each stone firmly. Understanding batter–the angle at which the two faces of the wall rise towards each other–and setting stringlines, which allows you to maintain smooth faces as the faces angle upward, will take practice as each woman applies her knowledge at home. Anyone looking for further guidance with your project, please feel free to be in touch!
To understand what it takes to put on a women’s workshop, you need to know that North America is home to only five women qualified to teach for The Stone Trust (TST) and the Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA). This weekend’s instructors traveled from northern New Hampshire, Long Island, and Colorado to teach. Thanks for making the trip!
What does it take to become a Stone Trust instructor? You must have achieved DSWA Level 2 Professional certification and earned an instructor’s certificate. In September, we hope to add a sixth woman to the qualified group. In early winter, newly qualified wallers will take the course to become Stone Trust waller-teachers. Our Entry-Level Professional Scholarship awardees include three other women pursuing certification this year and the next year or two.
For those of you thinking about further training to add to your professional repertoire, we’d love to have you come back for other workshops in our Curriculum in Dry Stone. The Stone Trust (TST) Women in Walling is a nascent group that started taking shape last spring, as a group of instructors and others working professionally as wallers, met to discuss the purpose and feasibility of applying for a grant from the Vermont Women’s Fund. The Stone Trust’s goals align with those of the Fund:
- Make pathways to economic well-being more accessible and affordable for all women and girls.
- Invest in women’s economic security and career prospects.
- Dismantle systemic barriers to women’s economic well-being and thriving in Vermont.
- Prioritize equity to support women who face the greatest barriers (https://vermontcf.org/our-impact/impact-stories/the-vermont-womens-fund-2021-funding/).
Conversations with the grantor helped us understand that as yet we are not ready to create impact at the scale envisioned. We’ll keep working on it! As for TST’s Women in Walling group, we’re building it waller by waller. Please be in touch with comments and/or questions.
If you know women who might like to attend a Women’s Introduction to Dry Stone Walling in 2021, we are offering two one-day workshops in October at The Stone Trust at Laurel Stoneworks near Johnstown, Pennsylvania and our first two-day women’s workshop at The Stone Trust at Broad View Farm in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire. Please let them know.