Introductory workshops, sometimes also called ‘Level 1 workshops’ are the ideal basic introduction to dry stone walling. The workshops are typically held indoors at the Stone Trust Center as a 1 day workshop. However they are at times also taught outdoors both at the Master Feature Park and in other locations, and may be run as a 2 day workshop. If you have little or no experience building stone walls to Dry Stone Walling Association – GB (DSWA) standards, our recommendation is to start with an indoor one-day Level 1 workshop before taking other workshops. For more information see our.
Level 1 workshops are a great place for anyone interested in dry stone walls to start. Homeowners frequently take them in advance of a project they would like to do. Landscape professionals who are looking to provide dry stone walling as a service for their clients also start with a Level 1 workshop. Taking a level one workshop is also highly recommended, if you are considering hiring someone else to build a wall for you, as you will learn how to evaluate contractors work and make an informed decision about who you want to build your wall.
Workshops have a great student to instructor ratio with a maximum of eight participants to each certified instructor. Each participant has their own section of wall to work on, typically consisting of a 5ft tall wall, 5ft long. Participants will each build one side or ‘face’ of the wall so they will learn how to tie into to other people’s work both opposite form them and to the side.
The key focus of the level one workshops is the application of the proper structural principles of dry stone walls. After taking a level 1 workshop you will know how to build a strong wall that will last. The goal for a level 1 workshop is for participants to produce a wall of the quality that would pass Level 1 Dry Stone Certification by the (DSWA). While the area built by each participant is about 1/2 of what is required in a test, it gives participants an excellent understanding of what will be required.
All level 1 workshops are taught on free standing walls (not retaining walls). This is the best way to learn dry stone walling because it allows easy access to both sides of the wall, and no time is wasted shoveling soil and stabilizing a bank. All of the principles taught apply to retaining walls, and retaining walls will be discussed as part of this workshop. There will be discussions about, and participants will be shown examples of, features built and taught in more advanced workshops and test levels.
The native Vermont fieldstone used for the workshops has been hand selected for ease of use in a workshop environment. On indoor workshops the stone is round glacial till. This material is typical of New England field stone. Our stone has been hand selected for appropriate size and shapes. Learning to build with round stone is ideal: if you can build a wall with round stone, then building with flat stone is easy! The rules and principles are the same no mater what type of stone you will be using.
Typical Workshop Format for workshops held at The Stone Trust:
- Brief verbal and visual introduction covering safety, basic terminology, and methods.
- Participants dismantle (strip out) their section of wall and sort the stone.
- String lines and batter frames are briefly discussed.
- Participants are guided through setting their foundation stones and first lift (lower half of wall).
- Throughstones are placed about lunch time.
- A tour of the Masters Features park with brief discussions about the various features and test levels.
- A brief discussion about tools. Stone shaping is a minor part of a typical level 1 workshop, but tools are discussed and their may be some demonstrations of shaping.
- Participants are guided through building the second lift (top half of wall), cover stones, and copes.
- The work area will be cleaned up, and a concluding discussion about the walls build and evaluating walls.
Goals for the workshop include:
- Safe construction practices
- Understanding walling terminology
- Basic knowledge of correct building methods and techniques
- Ability to identify properly built walls
After attending a workshop, participants will have the knowledge to build their own dry stone walls in a safe and structurally sound manner. The workshop also helps train participants to identify correct walling methods and techniques in all dry stone walls.
All workshops at The Stone Trust begin at 8:30am and go till 4:30pm, with a 1/2 break for lunch. The cost for workshops varies depending on the location, level, and subject $245 – $390 is the typical range. See the specific workshop listings for details.
All workshops run by The Stone Trust are approved for credit hours though the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) credits.
To Register for a workshop check the Upcoming Event List.
Then click on the workshop you are interested in, select how many people you will be paying for to attend, and click at to Event Cart