“When now and again a stone falls into place that is utterly inevitable, I feel I am suddenly standing under a shower of grace. For an instant I feel inevitable, too.” – In the Company of Stone
ART-BUILDER, SCULPTOR, STONE-WORKER, WRITER, TEACHER, LECTURER
Working in the Company of Stone
For 40 years Dan Snow has been building dry stone constructions in his native Windham County, Vermont and beyond. From the practical to the fantastical, his works in stone fuse vanguard vision with old world techniques and traditions.
Dan Snow is an assemblage artist specializing in site-generated, or locally sourced, natural materials. His dry stone constructions have included stock-proof fences, pillars, stiles, staircases and arch bridges. More complex creations such as garden follies, grottoes and grandstands as well as environmental art pieces and figurative works of sculpture are part of his oeuvre. He often designs his landscape installations contextually, by creating a 3-D scale-model on site. In environmental art making, Snow strives to transfigure the essence of place into new forms and experiences through the manipulation of natural materials. In addition to hundreds of private installations, he has created public stone art for the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Vermont, COCC in Oregon, Kerava Art Museum in Finland, TICKON sculpture park in Denmark and the Glenmorangie Distillery in Scotland.
In 2001 Snow authored “In the Company of Stone”, published by Artisan, with photographs of his work by Peter Mauss. “Stone Rising”, a film by Camilla Rockwell, released in 2005, captures the spirit of Snow’s constructions and chronicles the process of their creation. Snow’s second book “Listening to Stone – Hardy Structures, Perilous Follies, and Other Tangles with Nature”, was published by Artisan in October 2008. His work has been the subject of articles in numerous journals, including “This Old House”, “Vermont Magazine” and “Vermont Life” magazines, and the “New York Times” and the “Boston Globe.” Visitors to the website can find a chronological account of his talks, presentations, book readings, projects, installations, travels and workshops.
As a Mastercraftsman with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, Snow instructs in the craft and examines for the DSWA Craftsman Testing Program. Environmental Art and Landscape Architecture students have expanded their art and design horizons with the help of his hands-on-the-land direction. He has authored two books that tell the story of our heritage in stone and his personal journey in the art and craft of walling. As a DSWA Examiner he has organized test venues and tested dozens of applicants in the craftsman certification scheme. Snow is a former director and active supporter of The Stone Trust, an organization that seeks to preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling.
Dan Snow has instructed dry stone walling and environmental art workshops, and lectured on stone craft across the USA, Canada and Great Britain. He has taught environmental art workshops for the University of Art and Design (now Aalto University) Helsinki, Finland. Snow has worked with Kansas State Landscape Architecture students rebuilding pioneer homestead walls and creating a permanent sculpture for the grounds of the Beach Museum of Art. He has instructed week-long environmental art workshops at the English Harbour Arts Centre, Newfoundland, Canada. Groups of students in Finland, Wisconsin, Vermont, Indiana and Kentucky have built dry stone walls and other constructions with Snow’s guidance.
© Dan Snow. All rights reserved.
Praise for In the Company of Stone:
“The prose weaves between practical and poetic with the same gentle twists as an old field wall, inspiration to armchair waller and budding artisan alike.”—Washington Post
“Dan Snow is a poet, and artist and a craftsman who bring life out of stone. His narrative tells a story on several levels: the wall being constructed, its inspiration and its deeper meaning as metaphor. I am grateful to have encountered his work.” – Amazon reviewer R. Leng
Praise for Listening to Stone:
“What a pleasure to have the tales of these new wonders told, and in such lovely prose.” – Bill McKibben
“This is a haunting and remarkable book – one that I will read again and again. Gentle and wise, with a precise understanding of the author’s place in this precarious universe, Listening to Stone deserves a wide audience.” Jay Parini, author of Robert Frost: A Life
“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.
– Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post