While the Northeast of the USA was sweltering, the weather in the Jotunheimen mountains of Norway was bracing. Cold winds and cloudy skies for the Turtagtrø dry stone walling workshop had me and the participants glad for some vigorous physical activity to stay warm. Of course, for the Norwegians it qualified as mild weather. As Morten gleefully pointed out, “If it’s not snowing, it must be summer!”
The group began by assessing the building site and stone. With an assignment to create an outdoor kitchen for chalet guests and tent campers they discussed possibilities and sketched out ideas. With a plan in place, footings were dug and guide frames erected. Slate chunks and slabs were generously donated by Jon Suleng of AF Decom from their Oppdal quarry. After breaking most of it up with a sledgehammer, the 9 square-metre truckload became our building stockpile for the rest of the week.
The group chose a location for the kitchen that was on a stream-side grass slope next to an old field boundary wall. The old wall makes a break from the prevailing east wind and the stream offers a source of water for cooking and cleaning. The crescent shaped seating wall embraces a circular fireplace. Additional amenities include stone benches, tables and firewood storage nooks.
It takes a bit of blind faith on everyone’s part to make a dry stone workshop happen. I’m grateful to participants for taking a chance and spending a week with me, and to the venue organizer for believing we can make something useful, beautiful and lasting.
Clara, Siv, Erland and Morten put their all into the week, getting a lot out of the workshop experience. They intend to put their new-found confidence in designing and building in stone to good use on home and professional projects. Etti and the Turtagro staff and board members were vital to making everything come together including promotion, registration, tool and stone gathering, and most importantly, cozy accommodations and delicious meals! Elin and I say, “Tusen takk” to everyone for a magical time in the mountains of Norway.