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JMMDS Presents: Vermont Stone Workshop: July 22-25, 2010

By March 9, 2010September 26th, 20119 Comments
by Julie Moir Messervy

A fan favorite returns: JMMDS brings back the Vermont Stone Workshop for Summer 2010 (July 22-25, to be exact)! More details below:

Assembling the Goshen stone Cairn at the 2006 Vermont Stone Workshop. Photo: Steve Jonas.

As the snows recede, the stone walls that mark old sheep fields are revealing themselves once more. When I look out over our straggling wall that divides the upper and lower fields, I can’t help but think back to August of 2006, when twenty-six stalwart and hardy people gathered at our house from all over the country to learn the art and technique of stone work with eminent Vermont waller Dan Snow, myself, and three of Dan’s colleagues.

Workshop participants put their dry stone walling knowledge to use. Photo: Steve Jonas.

L: Participants and Scottish waller Dave Goulder stand behind their work, a Galloway Dyke wall; R: The Moon Gate. Photos: Steve Jonas.

With an average age of about 50 (although the range was from 25-75!), this group’s strength and staying power was impressive. For three straight days, participants rebuilt parts of the old wall, learning traditional techniques including building a Galloway Dyke wall (Scotland), as well as building a Cairn, a Moon Gate, a “Listening Wall” above our stream, a stone overlook above the pond, and a fieldstone terrace at the entrance to our house. Another bonus: three people qualified for the DSWA (Dry Stone Walling Association) certification scheme Level 1 test.

L: A workshop participant works to create the fieldstone terrace; R: Julie “gesticulates” to show stone relationships. Photos: Steve Jonas.

While Dan and his crew taught walling, I explained a different way to set stone, imparting some of the “secrets” of Japanese stone arrangement, as I learned them in Kyoto, Japan some thirty years ago. Participants thought up a “big idea” that they wanted to recreate, selected stones from a nearby pile, and proceeded to set them into a shady area of the upper field. Some beautiful miniature gardens still emerge from the moss. Next time we do this, I vowed, I’d teach people how to set stones in full scale.

L: Listening to Stone by Dan Snow; Master wallers Dan Snow (M) and Chuck Eblacker (R). Photos: Waller’s Notebook.

So here’s the newsflash: We’re going to do it all over again from July 22-25, 2010! Dan’s agreed to return to our house for another four-day session this summer. His colleague, Chuck Eblacker, creator of the Moon Gate and other special features, will assist him. And I’m going to work full-size with Thaddeus Guild (TMG Enterprises, Cambridgeport, VT) operating the excavator. This year, we’re also adding Neil Best of Magma Design Group to the mix. We’ll work onsite for two a half days and include a field trip to see some of Dan’s and my stonework in the area. Picnic lunch will be provided, along with afternoon swims in our pond, and a gala dinner on the final evening. Email for more details, and spread the word!

The 2006 Vermont Stone Workshop group on-site at Julie & Steve’s. Photo: Steve Jonas.

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Carol Wood says:

    I want to do this!! Keep us posted about the dates!

  • Anne Brewer says:

    I would be very interested in participating in this stone workshop. Please let me know dates when you get it organized.

  • please let me know dates! i will pass the word around here to stonemasonry friends and fans.

  • This workshop changed my orientation to rocks! “Two-over-one, One-over-two” is both a rule and a philosophy for me. It is hard not to be a believer when I experienced granite-on-granite grow into a gorgeous design feature. If all goes well then I plan to attend again to learn more!


  • Leslie Goldman says:

    Matt and I are interested. Let us know when the dates are confirmed. TX

  • jane macri says:

    Very interested. Please keep me posted.

  • DL says:

    I would like information on your workshop for next year. I just found your wonderful blog and can not make it this year. I love stone in the landscape and will order Dan’s book.

  • Andrea says:

    I would love to enroll my husband for your next workshop (spring or summer 2011)- please keep me posted!
    In the meantime I’ll be ordering Dan’s book…
    Andrea Holm
    Charlotte, VT

  • Val says:

    Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for the comment! I’ve added you to our email list so you’ll be the first to know about upcoming workshop opportunities. Dan’s titles are a feast for the eyes and mind–enjoy!