From The Washington Post, Dec 13, 2008 by Joel M Lerner
One school holiday assignment I never minded was to read a book of my choice. So, here are my picks for some landscape and gardening books for your holiday reading and gift list this year.
“Listening to Stone: Hardy Structures, Perilous Follies, and Other Tangles With Nature,” by Dan Snow (Artisan, 2008), is a brilliant work by an ingenious artist and stone mason. Your jaw will drop a little more with each turn of the page. It’s reminiscent of artwork by M.C. Escher, who drew impossible structures, except Escher’s drawings were one-dimensional. Snow’s works are three-dimensional, real-world objects that are constructed of stone without mortar that actually exists in the landscape. Remarkably, most are working fabrications. His latest book is part philosophy and part geology. He promotes a sense of community: When loose stone is collected and arranged, conversations take place. We hear people pondering their place on earth. With photography by Peter Mauss, this 144-page hardcover will inspire you to fashion your own stone structures.
The Washington Post articles on Listening to Stone have also appeared in other publications.
From the Knoxville News Sentinel 12/19/2009
Read and Get Ready
January is the month to procure seeds, make cold frames and work the soil, if you can. But the next few weeks offer the only real downtime for green-blooded gardeners, along with a moment to broaden our knowledge and draw inspiration. Here are three garden books to keep you content.
Listening to Stone by Dan Snow (Artisan, $23.95). Snow, from Vermont, is a master with stones. His work at times rises to the level of land art you associate with British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
Readers will have their own favorite projects featured in the book, perhaps the medieval tent – he calls it an archer’s pavilion – but made of stone; or the perfectly formed fire bowl; or the hillside shelter for sheep, with its stone-tiled roof.
From the The Washington Post 1/1/09 – Published by the Dallas Morning News 1/9/2009
The coldest weeks of winter offer the only real down time for gardeners, giving us time to broaden our knowledge and draw inspiration. That’s why garden books – tactile, navigable, portable – retain their allure in this multimedia age.
Several new titles suitable for whiling away an afternoon:
Dan Snow of Vermont is a master with stones. His work at times rises to the level of land art you associate with British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
Snow has spent many hours meditating on the meaning of stone as he goes about his work, illustrated in Listening to Stone (Artisan, $24). “A dry stone wall,” he writes, “is both a human work framed by nature and a work of nature touched by humanity.”
Readers will find favorite projects featured in the book: perhaps the medieval tent – he calls it an archer’s pavilion – but made of stone; or the perfectly formed fire bowl; or the hillside shelter for sheep, with its stone-tiled roof.
One of his early works is a stone pen used as a vegetable garden. This rectangle of stone, 100 yards long in total, took three months to build. As with his favorite projects, he harvested the stone from the remnants of old field walls on the property.
Snow could get his stone from a quarry, but he prefers to take it from the land that it will adorn.
“Going up into the woods assigns a value to stone that can’t be gained by any other means,” Snow writes. “They are discovered in a state of innocent repose, all supine, snuggled together on the forest floor in peaceful splendor. My wish that they remain undisturbed has never been as strong as the itch I’ve felt to build something with them.”