I love how you change the pics on the website everyday. I hit the link on the toolbar about 5 times a day, just to see what's new.
I trust all is well, and you're looking towards spring. I know I am. big time.
have a look at some of my shots when you get the time. There are one or two i'm sure you'll like.
To whom it may concern, once you have mastered the art of dry walling, how
difficult is it to take it to the next step and add motar ?
I just saw the announcement for the Dry Stone Walling Workshops in
Vancouver starting April 13. I really want to register!!! I have been
monitoring your site for a long time but missed the workshop last year. I
go to Northwest regularly, sometimes just to hang out and visualize, and
have seen the walls that were built during the last workshops, beautiful. I
really want to learn. I have a cabin in the Cariboo district of BC (just
east of 100 Mile House) that is the rockiest lot in the subdivision so I
have lots of material to work with. Unfortunately, it is hard stone to work
with, some type of blue/green stone that is hard to break, but when it does
it breaks into random pyramidal shapes. I am determined to learn how to
work with it and make some nice stone walls instead of just large stone
On your Historic Wall page you take alook at the stone wall at Case Manor
- Formerly the Boyd Estate. It is a lovely wall and I'm glad to see it
included on your site. However I'm really disapointed in the final comment
about years of neglect. I am Mrs. Case's grandson and can assure you that
over the 30+ years of her ownership the wall was repired a number of times
- neglected it was not. Limted funding made it impossible to maintain a
pristine wall and the one section near the main gate (which part I'm
sure you are reffering to) was assessed seveal times to ensure it was safe
- as there was a significant bulge. Repairs we were told were not possible
without pulling down a significant portion of the Wall, and that it would
never be the same. As the wall was considered safe and sound we did not
wish to have any portion removed.
Hi John -
I 've dug down an area in my backyard where i want the stone wall to be, and got the supplies for the batter frame from home depot, and now I just need to get the stone and I can't wait to get started on my project! I am still connected to Greg on our Yahoo meetup page. well, I hope it turns out well - I will be sure to send you pics when i finish it!
thank you again for the class at American Soil and Stone, it was the most fun I've had in a long time and I think about it often. I learned so much and I hope to keep learning.
we call it an On-The-Bias wall
it does look like a quirky geological out cropping doesnt it?
very fitting for california with all its foibles and faults
you still have to batter it well and heart it well, but the stones seem to fit tighter as the weight of the wall builds upon each stone you lay
you can only build this wall away from the lean, so only two people can work on it at a time.
the grey stone is called cheif cliff dry stack from montana and is 510 a ton from lingso supply in san mateo
the red browny stuff is called moss back flagstone, and i think it is from more out your way, perhaps it is from colorado, but still supplied by lingso
i guess it is sandstone
anyway thanks for all the feedback
> is there a name for this 'geologic uplifting' form?
What rules apply regarding batter, hearting, etc.
is there a side angle mid-construction image.
What's the name of the material? It almost looks like my sandstone when it
John, the San Francisco arch is amazing.
Do you have any more images?
John...that americal soil wall is really nice. Was that first time students? Impressive.
Thanks for the workshop in Richmond Ca, you and Dean were great. It was a rewarding couple of days...on many levels-community, exercise, creativity. I have a new respect for rocks just as they are, no chisels, drills or sledgehammers.
Hope to see you at the SF Garden Show. And wall the best to you too,
Thank you not only for the workshop and your efforts there but
also for posting the photos on the DSWAC web page. It really is
rewarding to review the experience.
Dear John and Mary and Dean;
The workshop last weekend (Jan 17-19, 2008) exceeded my expectations in unimaginable ways. Not only did we learn about the art and craft of 'dry-walling' but, in the congenial company of the group, had great fun in the process. This opportunity to work with master artisans-cum gifted teachers in the warmth of the Grafton barn, then, at the end of the day enjoy the hospitality of the Shaw-Rimmingtons, cumulatively produced an unforgettable experience. Beyond learning the 'mechanics' of building stone walls, there dividends galore ....all unanticipated. There was immense satisfaction that came from working with these organic materials, from participating in a collective act of creation, from realizing there were universal truths to be gleaned in the areas of problem solving, philosophy , ecology, history and art. And at the end of the day the amazement that all of this was provoked by the simple handling of the stone! In fact, I've concluded that building a dry-stone wall is a fitting metaphor for life: take a pile of old rock and rubble, decide it has the potential to be something beautiful and useful, then set about build it. Whatever the toil of the process, the enjoyment and pleasure the end product will generate for many lifetimes is priceless
So thank you Mary John and Dean for your passion and commitment to this art form and for dedicating yourselves to passing it on.
Hey John, I just recieved you book . I decieded to pour my self a glass of johnny walker blue label to get into character and read your book or should I say view it.. I have to say I was really pleased with my purchase..I have been doing masonry for 12 years now and collected a lot of books. I love all types of masonry. I find it really inspiring that someone has devoted so much of his life to a certain type of stone work; by this I mean dry stone. To tell you that I love masonry all the time, I would be lying.There are some days I hate work and I want to take a pointed chisel and drive it into my head. But it's the end product I love so much. It seems you really love the whole process of building, not just the final shot... But it's the stones I have a undying love for, and after viewing your work, I can tell we share this undying love and respect for rocks. Oh, by the way my favorite piece in the book is the two circle pillars with the inner circle at the top, and the lights on top. I have seen alot of crazy walls, and everything else like that, I have even seen helixes (albeit mortared) even built them. My good friend Micheal Eckerman out of santa Cruze Ca Is one of the best masons in the world for these type of pieces, so they don't really impress me any more, but it's the formal pieces that impress me, the bridges,, the crisp pillars the arches, stuff in your book. I feel that you should learn these before you ever try to do something artful, so many masons skip this step. But anyway I tip my glass to your work, and thanks for sharing your world with me. In a country as beautful as Canada it's hard to imagine anything out that way without beautiful dry stone walls.
I wanted to thank you for the dry stone wall course on Jan 17 and 18 in Grafton. It was a challenge for me but I learned a lot.
John and Dean, you have different styles and I am glad to see the variety. Both of you are encouraging and I appreciate that.
I quite enjoyed the Nova video about the trebuchet because I am interested that stuff. I also would have enjoyed just an evening chatting with class mates over dessert. That would promote relationships which could perhaps lead to other stone wall events.
Hi ya John 'n Mary,
I'm so pleased that the coarse went so well and glad that you were able to
book our places (phew). Nice work and looked like fun. We Look forward to
attending this summer when we can figure out our schedule... I (robert) am
enjoying exploring the new life at StoneMad. Well done and thanks to all
involved... I believe it is already proving itself in many areas... fun
watching it evolve.
Do you offer talks to teach people about the walls and how they can be looked after? I know you have your two day ones but what about one that is only 2 or 3 hours long? We are thinking of organizing a seminar that would include a number of topics for the homeowners and I thought dry walling might be one.
One last point - Loved the website! I have visited it 3 times in the last month and each time it was different. Very nice.
yes we do Cherri
I and several DSWAC members have given power point presentations about dry stone walls and stone garden features across Canada.
Cherri Hurst, Weston Heritage Conservation District
I live in the Weston, Ontario area. This is now a part of Toronto but at
one time it was a village on it's own. It has a rich history to it and
part of that history is the ubiquitous river stone walls that are now an
integral part of the area. These walls were originally done in the dry
stone technique by a Scottish immigrant named James Gilbert Gove. He used
stones brought up from the Humber River and painstakingly (as you would
know) worked for 40 years in the area. Many of the walls are now slathered
in mortar and every once in a while someone tears one down and throws the
stones away, much to our chagrin. The City of Toronto being the biggest
culprit. We are trying to raise awareness of the history, workmanship and
beauty of these creations in the neighbourhood. The grandson of Mr. Gove
is getting a plaque put in to commemorate the walls, plus a cenotaph and a
house (not dry stone I believe). I am trying to find some information on
the building, preservation and restoration of dry stone walls to further
Can you help me?
I came across your site by accident and am completely in awe over your
work. I am retired and living on North Pender Island (Southern Gulf
Islands between Victoria and Vancouver BC). I have been building things
with field stone and mortar for the past 4 or so years and had no idea that
you could build things out of dry techniques. My daughter calls me the
"free-range stone mason" because I only use what I have on our 3 acres. I
would love to find out more information.
Thank you for the review on the web site. Your comments are all very well taken.
As I said in my note on the insert to the DVD, I started with the idea of making a loosely "how to" and ended up learning more about myself and what I thought of it all, and the idea of sharing this fascination and source of joy is a lot of what it's about. As you can tell, the music is also very important to me, both to help the work flow along, and in its own right. I have learned a couple hundred old songs now, and a good day for me (yesterday for example) is about six hours of walling in the cold sunny air, followed by a couple hours of playing the guitar and a hot meal. That's low cost value added entertainment. . . . :-)
I had a wonderful time making the film, partly because it put me on an intense binge of building, for every hour we spent filming I spend forty or fifty just working on the wall. Same with deciding what songs to put in the film, and recording a bunch of them.
Don't worry about not having had a chance to meet, I think we will meet, I may come up for some formal training, and you may be down here for a project or travel. Let me know, I will always be here working on my walls.
Best regards and thank you again for your kindness and your comments.