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Vermont Stone Workshop’s Talented Teaching Team

By June 30, 2010September 22nd, 2011No Comments
by Val Khislavsky

Behind every event is a talented team; meet Chuck Eblacker and Neil Best, the other instructors of the 2010 Vermont Stone Workshop, and join them for 3.5 days of hands-on learning with stone. Workshop registration closes this Friday, July 2–don’t miss your chance to sign up!

Moongate by Chuck. Photo: Susan Regonbogan.

Dry Stone Waller Chuck Eblacker has been walling for over a decade, having first begun to work with stone in 1996 and later starting his own upstate, NY business, Eblacker & Stone, in 2001. Chuck creates beautiful custom outdoor structures in the warmer months and intricate wine cellars, fireplaces and other interior works during the winter. A professional member of the Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) of Great Britain, Chuck has attained the advanced certificate distinction by working side by side with Master Wallers like Dan Snow, and gleaning knowledge and inspiration from these collaborations. Chuck is also a seasoned instructor and will bring his experience and enthusiasm for the tradition of dry stone walling to this summer’s Vermont Stone Workshop. He is looking forward to being a part of this year’s teaching team.

Wine cellar with river stone “waterfall.” Photos: Chuck Eblacker.

Chuck’s interest in stone work is best explained in his own words:

“Walling is the art of placing stone in such a way that gravity and friction, not mortar, hold the work together—often for centuries. I’m drawn to stone—perhaps as you are—by its strength, permanence and peacefulness. It challenges me as a craftsman and provides daily lessons in the value of both patience and humility.”

His portfolio of work speaks for itself. Visit Chuck’s website to see more of his pieces.

Chuck’s Moongate with step stiles and arch nook. Photo: Susan Regonbogan.

Neil Best comes to the Vermont Stone Workshop via a chance meeting with Julie at the Rhode Island Spring Flower Show, where he and his wife Samantha were exhibiting. Registered landscape architect (CT & RI) Neil and Certified Horticulturalist and Coastal Resources Invasive Plant Manager Samantha created their design-build firm, Magma Design Group, Inc., in 2005. The firm offers a range of landscape design, construction, and permitting services ranging from the creation of stone sculptures, walls, patios and walkways, to planting and water feature design and installation. Neil will be assisting Dan Snow and Chuck Eblacker in all aspects of stone construction during the 2010 Vermont Stone Workshop. He is excited to share his enthusiasm for stone work and hopes to inspire participants to go out and build their own stone creations!

New England Fieldstone Moongate by Neil. Photo: Samantha Best, Magma Design Group, Inc.

Neil’s interest in stone work began at a young age–having grown up in Tiverton, RI, well known for its miles of New England Fieldstone walls, he spent his childhood climbing these walls and interacting with stone. As an adult, Neil continues to be inspired by stone in his design-build work, using it to create unique structures and focal points. Neil likens the process of working with stone to constructing a puzzle, embracing the challenge of defying stone’s innate properties to make it seem weightless in the landscape.

New England Fieldstone and Salvaged Granite house and heart-shaped arch. Photo: Courtesy of Matt Francis Photos.

Join Dan Snow and Julie, together with Chuck and Neil, for the Vermont Stone Workshop July 22-25. Registration closes July 2 and we’re offering a number of tuition discounts. Visit to learn more and reserve your spot. For more on stone work in Vermont, pick up the July/August issue of Vermont Magazine for a story by Julie featuring the work of Dan Snow and other Vermont Stone Artisans.

Grasses and lavender against a natural boulder backdrop. Photo: Samantha Best, Magma Design Group, Inc.