In the past, the Women’s Intro took place in our indoor training center in the foundation of the 1862 Barn at the Scott Farm. Now women learn the basics of dry stone walling on the social-distance stints built by volunteer instructors on the Fourth of July. Fortunately, the deluge that poured down on Friday stopped by the time the first workshop started on Saturday morning. Certified instructors Kim Coggin and Judy Rand determined to put the tents away; warm sun shining down on a cool day would keep participants more comfortable. Professional Member Victoria Merriman, who joined the ranks of DSWA-GB Level 2 Professional Wallers by passing her certification test in , supported student learning during Monday’s workshop.
In addition to the outdoor venue, the new format changes the work students do while they are learning. In the past, each student built 3-foot section of one face of a 5-foot tall, double-face wall. A fellow waller built the opposite face. Social distancing changed that, so that now each student builds both faces of their own stint. You lay both lines of the foundation, trying to zip them together by pinning and hearting, and then build level courses—as many as your ability to apply the concepts instructors are teaching allows you to complete in the eight-hour workshop day.
On Saturday, six women with a range of building experience came to learn the five basics at the Stone Wall Park. Four arrived with curiosity and no prior walling. One had already built a 100-foot wall and led a trail crew. Another had acted as facilities director for a stone building firm for many years. That’s a big range! Monday’s class brought a similar range of knowledge and experience. As tends to be the case at our walling workshops, lots of stone turns up on properties and people feel compelled to do something with them!
Thanks to everyone for your feedback. People liked the sense of camaraderie among women while acquiring a working understanding of how to build a dry stone wall. They appreciated the just-do-it approach and one-on-one attention from instructors. We’ll be sure to help future participants understand ahead of time how the day flows. We’ll build in progress benchmarks to help people gauge their workflow. And we’ll give you all a heads-up about the weight of the stones you’ll be lifting and placing. Thanks to everyone for helping us understand what’s working and how to make an even better experience for workshop participants. And thanks to Kim, Judy, and Victoria for successfully negotiating the instructional changes required due to the pandemic.