Dan Snow, The Hollow

The Stone Hollow

A home is the space we occupy in a house. The roof and walls are only defensive barricades. The positive aspects of homelife manifest themselves in the negative spaces. A building is woken to its purpose when occupied. Architecture needs activity before it can be mindful and humane. Environmental art serves a wider community. It […]

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Art of the Outdoors

My classmate, Hass, and I were standing on a rooftop on the lower west side of Manhattan watching a dance performance taking place in a vacant lot across the street when he nudged me and whispered, “That’s Robert Smithson.” The tall guy to my left at the parapet, in a cowboy hat and black trench […]

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Dan Snow, Holy Well

The Holy Well

Plans made for potential events in the distant future rely on wishful, sometimes magical, thinking. One example that comes to mind is that of friends who purchased a magnum of wine at the time of their daughter’s birth with the intention of it being uncorked on the day she was married (she was and it […]

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Dan Snow, Wilder Cemetery volunteer walling day

Action in a Resting Place

Concluding her remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation roast recently, Hillary Clinton said, “…for each of us, our greatest monument on this earth won’t be what we build, but the lives we touch.” She was speaking about doing good deeds toward those living around us. But what about those who lived in the […]

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Dan Snow, Fire Circle Square

Fire Circle Square

The gem industry has very successfully paired stone types with general topics of personal interest. Zodiac signs and milestone life-events are examples of gems being assigned by association to gift giving opportunities. The phrase, “A diamond is forever”, first appeared in a De Beers Mines ad in 1948 connecting the gem to wedding engagement. Less […]

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Dan Snow, stone well cover

Stone Well Cover

I can only imagine the pride a 19th century homesteader might have had, on the completion of a hand-dug, stone-lined water well. The clear, cold water contained in it would have been an essential ingredient for any hill farm’s success. Some old wells are still in use today at venerable New England homes, while other […]

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Dan Snow, Lucy's Place, Memorial Stones

Lucy’s Place

Just as the removal of one letter from the word ”whole” creates a “hole”, the loss of a family member leaves a void for those left behind. One way to help heal the rift is to remember the departed with a permanent marker on the landscape. A stone memorial can fuse the acknowledgment of their […]

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Dan Snow, Ripple Effects in Stone

A Ripple Effect in Stone and Steel

As part of its 40th anniversary, the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont commissioned me to create a permanent, interactive, environmental art piece. The result is a 1,000 sq. ft. dry stone and stainless steel sculpture that rises like a geologic upthrust from the open space alongside the museum entryway. Visitors can walk, climb […]

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Dan Snow Land Shark

Finn Island at Landmark College

A shark must be constantly moving onward to pass water through its mouth to the gills where oxygen is extracted. Similarly, forward momentum is essential for bringing a land art shark to life. During the month of May, a 22 meter long sculpture surfaced on the quad at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont. The dorsal […]

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Dan Snow, Snow Fence

Snow Fence

If you’ve ever looked at the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching you may have noticed a resemblance to stacks of stones. Each hexagram is a different arrangement of six lines, some solid and others broken in the middle; a little like a wall with random gaps between stones. It’s the randomness that lends fair […]

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Dan Snow, Shadow Hill, Concept, 2016

The Shadow Hill Concept

With a strong northwesterly wind whipping “snownados” up from the frosty ground outside, I’m in the studio devising hypotheticals for an unfrozen future. There’s time enough for a wonderland of “what ifs” to decorate the internal landscape when the porch thermometer reads 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Most are just a smokeless pipe dream, but sometimes an […]

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Dan Snow, Raindrops Collage

Montshire Museum Raindrops

A raindrop splashing on still water ripples the surface with expanding wave rings that grow in number as they diminish in height. From the purity of the physics involved comes a simple beauty. Liquid in motion is mesmerizing to watch because it’s constantly changing while remaining the same. For the upcoming project at Montshire Museum […]

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Dan Snow Stone Memorial Bench

Stone Memorial Bench

There’s much to be considered in the process of producing of a stone memorial. Even something as simple as a bench requires discussion about setting, size, shape, materials, and the wording, layout and carving of a dedication. Often there are many family members and friends involved in the choices to be made. My task as […]

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Dan Snow, Cairn Twist

Cairn With a Twist

While chipping away on stones going into the making of a cairn last week, my client’s daughter came into the backyard and asked where I get my ideas. My answer was scarcely informative, as I couldn’t think of anything specific I’d referenced when designing the shape in front of us. I did say that one […]

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Dan Snow, Rock Springs

Rock Springs Revisited

Building dry stone art is often a solitary pursuit. Accomplishments take place in the long stretches between contact with others. As my projects expand into the public realm the way forward is peppered with people. For someone whose focus has been on engagement with inert matter, to be devoting attention to a multiplicity of human […]

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Dan Snow Dry Stone Walling Workshop Boise Idaho

Gravitational Pull and Push

Dry stone walling instruction introduces the two faces of gravity to workshop participants. Gravity is both glue and lubricant; holding stones in place and slipping them apart. Opposites are at work at all times and that dichotomy is at the heart of dry stone construction. The earth’s gravitational force is pervasive, ever-present and unstoppable. It’s […]

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Dan Snow Stone Clouds

Artist Statement Stone Clouds

Dan Snow Artist Statement for Stone Clouds Eyes on the Land, Pizzagalli Center for Art & Education at Shelburne Museum from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016. http://shelburnemuseum.org/exhibitions/eyes-on-the-land/ Stone Clouds is a tribute to the sustainable agriculture practiced by generations of Mettawee Valley farmers who’ve picked tons of stones from their fields, all by […]

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Dan Snow Stone Clouds, Shelburne Museum

Stone Clouds Materialized

Getting myself out of the trouble I put myself in is the objective. The final product may be an art piece but that’s not the half of it. Problem making and problem solving is the bulk of the trade. The shape of a project is pointy at opposite ends and lumpy in the middle. The […]

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Dan Snow, Rock Springs

Rock Springs

The cat is out of the bag. Until now, I’ve had to keep it confidential, but today The Scotsman and North Star News published images and copy regarding Rock Springs, the dry stone art piece I completed in July for Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, Scotland. Constructed from locally sourced “rescue” stones, the commissioned land art […]

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Dan Snow Amphitheater

Amphitheater Studies

An amphitheater is a directionally focalized outdoor seating area. The curved risers allow the presenter’s voice to be heard clearly by the entire audience, and they are afforded uninterrupted sightlines to the presenter. The two things that most improve acoustics in an amphitheater are the decrease of ambient sound and the increase in audience membership. […]

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Dan Snow, Stone Clouds, Shelburne Museum

Stone Clouds

“Permanent” is one adjective I associate with my dry stone constructions. When I was asked to make a temporary installation on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum for the upcoming “Eyes on the Land” exhibition, some very different affiliations sprang to mind. And so, as I became acquainted with the Vermont Land Trust properties in […]

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Dan Snow, Lilyfield

Lilyfield 2

It’s commonly understood that clocks measure time passing, but I happen to think that clocks actually measure our passage through time. In my view, time is a static omnipresence. The swirling signet carved on the Cadboll stone, and other Pictish stones, is an attempt by a people to represent their existence in time. The symbol […]

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Dan Snow Tarbat Peninsula

Tarbat Peninsula

Tomorrow begins the seventh week in Scotland producing a piece of dry stone land art. While the work, itself, must be kept a mystery for a while longer, other aspects of the stay may be of interest. Unlike the rugged upland landscape typically associated with the Highlands, the Tarbat is a low-lying peninsula of rolling […]

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Dan Snow Lilyfield

Lilyfield

The whorling pattern of convoluted forms in the signet carved on the Cadboll Stone has a deep history. Before the pattern became emblematic of Picts culture, the earlier Celts employed a similar iconography in what is understood to be their graphic representation of time. If I think of the signet in terms of time, I […]

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Dan Snow, Pumpkin Seed, Dry Stone Wall Garden Enclosure

Land Art for the Moment

The notion that great things come from small beginnings is canonized in the proverb; “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”. And so it was with Pumpkin Seed, the dry stone garden enclosure that grew on a windy knoll in southern New Hampshire last winter. What started as a concept in clay, the size of my […]

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Dan Snow, Stone Bench

Bench Season

Maple season has come and gone. Only weeks ago the ground in our bucket orchard was under the spell of winter. Now it’s awake, naked to the sun. As the snow disappeared we collected and boiled sap, enough to keep ourselves, friends and family in pancake syrup until next March. Some people call it mud […]

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Dan Snow, environmental art workshop, dry stone walling

Newfoundland: Not Just About “The Rock”

Newfoundland’s well deserved nickname is “The Rock.” You can’t go anywhere on the island without running into some new geologic wonder to explore. An ample supply of loose building stone is what first drew me to Canada’s easternmost province but in the five, annual pilgrimages I’ve made to Newfoundland since 2010 I’ve discovered that there’s […]

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Dan Snow, Pumkin Seed

Pumpkin Seed Winter Garden (what I did on my winter vacation)

Team spirit is a commendable character trait. Those who can rally a cause, engender inclusivity and be a force for the common good have my respect and admiration. They appear to be comfortable and thrive in the swirl at the center of the mix. My inclination is to gravitate to the edges where I can […]

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Dan Snow, Stone Clouds

Stone Clouds Forming

Every year, the plow turns up more stones in Ken Leach’s cornfield. It appears they’ve floated up through the rich Mettawee Valley soil from below the surface when in fact they’ve floated down upon the face of the earth from far above. There were once great clouds of ice between earth and sky. Ken’s stones […]

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Dan Snow, Pumpkin Seed, Stone Garden Wall

Piling Pumpkins

There are steps along the way to completing a project that deserve celebration. Yesterday the north wall of the “pumpkin seed” garden fence was topped out at its eight foot height. While clambering around on ladders and icy boulders is exhilarating in its own way, I’m glad to be finished with this stage of the […]

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Dan Snow, Diamond Mines

Diamond Mines

My land art piece, Diamond Mines, is now in a happy marriage with Glenmorangie distillery. The Diamond Mines from 2011, with photo by Peter Mauss/ESTO, has been licensed for a Glenmorangie Signet print advertising campaign. See below for the TICKON Sculpture Park Catalog text. Diamond Mines, TICKON Land Art “Diamond Mines” is an abstract, site-specific […]

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Dan Snow, Stone Skylights

A Year in Stone

Once again, dry stone construction has taken me around the seasons. Work that employed the simplest of means culminated in a complexity of projects and events. There were presentations, workshops, consultations and proposals. There were utilitarian constructions, memorials and art installations. There was even a grant awarded and inclusion in a magazine article and a […]

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Dan Snow

Memory Stones

To commemorate a life after its passing completes the departure for those left behind. A stone tablet dedicated to the memory of a loved one holds them here and lets them go at the same time. We can release our grip on the past once we’re certain it won’t be forgotten. A few chosen words […]

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Dan Snow

The Growing Pumpkin Seed

Temperatures in the 20’s F, steady 10 mph winds gusting to 25. Stones fastening themselves to the surface of the ground with frost. Time to close down walling activities for the year, right? Wrong. The wind chill was definitely bracing on the work-site hilltop this week but building went on apace. In fact, some things […]

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Dan Snow

Pumpkin Seed

When a client, new to country living, expressed trepidation about planting and maintaining a large vegetable garden I half-jokingly suggested that they could just grow pumpkins because the vines and foliage spread over a large area. The growing gourds require minimum maintenance and yield big, colorful returns. We laughed off the pumpkin patch idea but […]

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Place or Space

This week celebrates the publication by Aalto University of a ground-breaking Environmental Art book. Edited by my friend and comrade in art, Markku Hakuri, Place or Space (Paikka vai tila) tells the story of places, spaces and situations that the contributing writers encounter when reflecting on the potential of art as a provider of social […]

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Dan Snow

Cadboll Stone

While visiting Scotland earlier this month I received a crash course in Pictish stone carving. The Picts lived north of what is now Edinburgh from the 1st to 3rd century AD. Little is known about them other than what can be deciphered from the system of symbols found carved on stones and engraved on metalwork. […]

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Dan Snow

Building the Ruminator

The fruit and vegetable garden is well established within the stone fence enclosure I built for the Richters twelve years ago. Now it’s time for the construction of a stone compost bin. Rick and Susan asked if I could come up with a design to match their earth-making ambitions. But where to locate it? In […]

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Swept up in Stone

It’s funny how things come to pass. I guess this story could start with a Kundalini yoga class I took twenty five years ago. As Sat Singh Khalsa, the teacher, and I became friends we began trading trades. He made furniture for my home and I made dry stone walls for his. There were lots […]

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Dan Snow Stoneworks

A Week with Eblacker & Stone

Continued fortuitous weather; how long can the good luck last? While helping Chuck Eblacker launch a project in Rochester, New York last week, wispy, goat beard clouds decorated blue skies. Bursts of wind periodically blew through, cooling our brows and raining wild cherries on our caps from the overhead shade trees. Between two wildflower meadows, […]

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Dan Snow stone work at Woodland Farms

Woodland Farms Garden Conservancy Open Days

The prospect was uninviting. Could I build a stone disguise for an electrical transformer? The call came at a busy time late in the last century. I advised the caller to check back again in a year. One year later, to the day, I received a second call from Rick and Susan Richter. The request […]

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Dan Snow, Seating Amphitheaterr

Vermont Arts Council Award

Fifty years ago I won a blue ribbon in the Brattleboro Sidewalk Art Show. Thirty years ago I won a National Endowment for the Arts award for designing a local amphitheatre. This week I received a Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Some might say, the awards in my artistic career have been few […]

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Dan Snow

English Harbour Arts Centre Stone Art Workshop

The English Harbour fog machine has been churning out invisibility for a solid 24 hours. Before I arrived here a week ago the southwest wind that funnels moisture off Trinity Bay into the land bowl above the harbor had kept the village cloaked in a cotton wool shroud for fourteen days. Fortunately, the recently concluded […]

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Dan Snow Woody Point dry stone walling workshop

Woody Point Workshop

Last evening the atmosphere softened to dusty rose across the far horizon. An osprey wheeled its way around the shoreline heading across Green Bay toward an incandescent object rising from the shimmering surface of the sea. Two hours earlier, I was at Ken Tuach’s stone yard wrapping up a day of DSWA examination. E and […]

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Dan Snow

Columbarium Completed

I don’t give a lot of thought to my age in years. On some days I feel older than yesterday and on others, younger. But with my 63rd birthday coming up in a month it’s nice to have recently completed a large commission, in a timely fashion, all under my own steam. Although, I can’t […]

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Dan Snow Stoneworks

Ground Swell 12 Unrealized

Celebrating a win is natural enough, but how to acknowledge a loss? The same amount of effort goes into the production of each. They both consist of a beginning, middle and end (the first two parts feeling much the same). It’s only the endings that become different as night and day. A few months back, […]

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Dan Snow Stoneworks Workshop

Woody Point Dry Stone Walling Workshop

The creation of a low, curving wall that leads the way up a hill to the newly restored St. Patrick’s church will be the goal of a dry stone walling workshop, July 19-20, in Woody Point, Newfoundland. Ken Tuach, a Level 3 DSWA craftsman, has asked me to join him in presenting the workshop to […]

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Dan Snow

Columbarium Wall: Half-Topped

Stones are clicking and clunking into place on the Center Cemetery columbarium wall. The past two weeks have seen steady progress in bringing a twenty-five yard length to completion. Sill stones for fourteen of the eighteen niches have been laid. While my work days have been spent in solitary seclusion, my evenings have been quite […]

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Dan Snow Stoneworks

Environmental Art & Dry Stone Walling Workshop Newfoundland Summer 2014

Please join Dan for a 5-day environmental art and dry stone walling workshop this summer in the spectacular coastal setting of Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. DATE: Sunday July 27 – Thursday July 31, 2014. Participants interested in a 2-day workshop, are welcome to join in on the Wednesday/Thursday of the 5-day workshop. LOCATION: English Harbour […]

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Long Train to Columbarium

The Connecticut columbarium wall work is out of the ground and on its way up. Since the last post, I’ve laid the foundation stones and brought the two ends to finished height. The list of ingredients grows as I discover additional stone sources. Starting with ledge scree I collected in Vermont, I’ve added fieldstone from […]

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Center Cemetery Columbarium Wall: Crushed Stone Foundation

Between workshop instructing, DSWA examining and rainy days I’ve managed to get the crushed stone foundation in for the Center Cemetery columbarium wall. Stone piles have been dismantled at the town garage stockyard site and stone reloaded on a one-ton truck for transport into the cemetery. Next week will see guide frames set and the […]

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Test Day at the Stone Trust in Vermont

Monday was all business at the Stone Trust center. Eleven candidates for Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain certificates put their heads down and applied themselves to the task of walling. The seven hour test required stripping out and rebuilding sections of 5’ high free-standing and retaining wall. Most candidates were successful in achieving […]

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Stone Trust Workshop May 2014

On Friday, the Stone Trust workshop organizer, Jared Flynn, was overjoyed by the prospect of rain for Saturday morning. Having produced many dry stone workshops alongside Dutton Farm Road in Dummerston, Vermont over the past three years he knew what the makings of a classic weekend looked like. It starts out damp and dreary. By […]

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dry stone wall columbarium

A Columbarium Wall

Soon, I will begin construction on a columbarium in a western Connecticut cemetery. The term columbarium is derived from the Latin columba, meaning dove. So, what do doves have to do with laying the departed to rest? Traditionally, a columbarium is a sepulchral structure with recesses in the walls to receive the ashes of the […]

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dan snow stoneworks mending pasture fences

Mending Pasture Fences

I’m quite often asked, “I have an old stone wall on my property that’s half broken down. What should I do?” The questioner is perplexed because they like the way the wall has “naturalized” over time but don’t want to see it slip further into disrepair. They worry that the effort to regain structural integrity […]

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Time by the Seasons

At daybreak on March 7th Mount Monadnock appears on the horizon in bold silhouette.  Soon after, the sun’s corona sets the mountain top ablaze. On only two days a year am I able to witness this phenomena from my home. The next time will be in October as the sun inches south along the horizon […]

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Olmstead?

Mystery Stone Pile

An intriguing question recently came my way from a reader. Richard K. from Williamsburg, VA asks, “Could a pile of stones possibly aid in the identification of an individual in a 19th century photograph?” In the photo he included, the man sits in an open buggy holding the reins of a horse. The horse has […]

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dan snow stoneworks dry stone wall

Time Tested Wall

  My parents trained me to see deer. Anytime we were in the countryside, on foot or by car, their eyes were scanning the distance for game. I inherited the practice and developed the knack of picking out the camouflaged form and color of deer in the landscape even when they’re hundreds of yards away. […]

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Dan Snow, Wishing Wells

Two Presentations: Sourcing Stone for Dry Stone Constructions

Two presentations in three days is living in the fast lane for me, especially when one is at a giant casino. In the fundraiser for the Latchis Theatre I joined Helen O’donnell, Julie Moir Messervy and Gordon Hayward in presenting a day-long seminar. We were warmly received by seventy gardening enthusiasts. The event brought in […]

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Built to Last: Dry Stone Design and Construction

Later this month I will be traveling to Atlantic City for the Annual meeting of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Every year, members gather for a fun, 3-day event full of seminars, continuing education and networking. The event is attended by more than 500 professionals each year. I’ve been […]

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Stoneworks in Snow

Stoneworks draped in downy snow. Wishing you all peace around the winter holidays and growing light in the new year. With thanks to clients, friends and family for the support and opportunities that grant me the companionship of stone.

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Koli Environmental Art Workshop

My Finnish friend, Markku Hakuri, is writing a book about teaching environmental art titled Site or Place. He asked me to contribute to it by describing one of my experiences as a guest professor at the University of Art and Design, Helsinki (now, Aalto University). The second time I was invited to teach in Finland, […]

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On Environmental Art Making

Doing good to the environment is not humankind’s long suit. There are precious few ways for us to interact with our natural surroundings that have a positive impact. That’s why it’s important to approach the making of art out-of-doors, sideways. It should not be difficult for nature to deflect or absorb the making of art […]

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Bedrock Barnacle

A new order of land crustacean has attached itself to a patch of ledge in Marlboro, Vermont. The homeowners, being away, had no way to defend their property from the intrusion. I hope they develop a liking for the three-ton mollusk because prying it off would be a bit… of a job. Fortunately, these old […]

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Stone Steps and Stairs

Is there a difference between a step and a stair? After looking up both words in the dictionary, I’m still wondering because a step is defined as one of a series of structures consisting of a riser and tread, and a stair is considered the height of a single step in a flight of stairs. […]

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Stone Arch Arbor

The desire to commemorate a life in passing is a deeply held impulse. To create something new is a natural response to the experience of loss. The “Stone Arch Arbor” commission combines a family’s wish to remember a loved one and make a gift to his community. As part of a recent expansion to Wilder […]

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From Newgrange to Morrisville: Laying Loved Ones to Rest

Much of the art and architecture of ancient cultures was funerary. The Egyptian pyramids and the Taj Mahal, for example, are tombs. Artistic creations such as The Terracotta Army of the Qin Emperor and large pieces of pottery that marked Early Greek burials were artistic creations separate from the venerated human remains. Works I’ve done […]

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The Sheep Shed

Over time, I’ve expanded the walling work that’s been the backbone on my career to include dry stone sculpture and environmental art. The designs typically take dry stone techniques and traditions into new territory. A concept will be explored through the lens of what’s known to have worked in the past. The core of a […]

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The Millstone

The use of an old millstone as a lawn ornament is a notion that never grows old. They’re seen laid flat with flowers growing from the central axle hole, or set on edge with the lower portion buried in the ground. The mill building, where the stone once turned, may be long gone but the […]

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Free Stone

A recent certification test day at The Stone Trust that I was an examiner for got me thinking about the term “free stone”. It can be synonymous with the term “dry stone” but I believe it has more far reaching implications. Working with “free stone” offers freedom from and freedom to. The basic rules of […]

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Stone Trust Dry Stone Walling Workshop

Who pays good money to do hard labor on their weekend off? Are they a bunch of nuts? No, they’re two dozen good eggs who joined in on The Stone Trust’s dry stone walling workshop. Lead by DSWA instructors Andrew Pighills, Brian Post and me, they studiously applied the rules they learned for wall building […]

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Rebuilding a Dry Stone Globe

The stone globe I built in 1983 had become timeworn. The hollow construction cracked open under the strain of carrying its own heft for thirty years. Barbara and Ernie commissioned the original. Their daughter, Nicole, asked me to bring it back to its former glory. In the intervening years I’ve laid up hundreds of dry […]

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Inflatable Stones

While I was in Newfoundland, ET, John, Andy, and the rest of the crew were making a full size mockup of the three-stone piece that will soon be installed on Hogpen Hill. The “inflatable stones,” as ET refers to them, are made from steel frames sheathed in plastic shrink-wrap. Yesterday the mockup took flight, with […]

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English Harbour Arts Centre Dry Stone Walling Workshops

Reflecting on the recently completed 2-day workshop at English Harbour Art Centre, I begin to see that perhaps the most useful function I perform as a walling instructor is offering permission to those in attendance to try something new. For a participant, the workshop setting is a green light at an intersection that otherwise would […]

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Turtagrø Dry Stone Walling Workshop in Norway

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 […]

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Repairing a Dry Stone Retaining Wall

Due to a number of structural problems, an eight-year-old, dry stone retaining wall in Hanover, New Hampshire was dangerously close to collapsing. I was asked by the property owner to remedy the situation. The rebuilding of a 6’x30’ section of retaining wall is often a straightforward business. But because this wall was in a well […]

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A Seating Wall

Here’s a little secret about building a dry stone wall on a busy construction site: work on the holiday. I spent the Memorial Day weekend constructing a seating wall for the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont. While packs of touring motorcyclists occasionally rumbled past on Route 106, bird song was the predominant sound track. […]

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From Durable Utility to Ephemeral Display

The difference between stone and rock is that rock only becomes stone when it gains employment. Whether fixed or loose, rock belongs to the earth. When humans pick it up and turn it to a use it becomes stone. There are many ways to make the transformation. Here are two examples. This past month, stonework […]

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Architecture and Design – Alive at Keene State College

In the 60’s, my Brattleboro Union High School football team scrimmaged with the Keene High School team. They had a reputation for being dirty players who used foul language. That’s the impression of Keene that’s lingered with me for the past forty years. I shouldn’t have been surprised to find that the place has changed […]

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DSWA Craftsman Certification Tests at the Stone Trust

After the tragic events to our south in Boston at the start of last week it was heartening to end it on Saturday with a positive note. Nine candidates came to The Stone Trust facility at Scott Farm for DSWA craftsman certification tests. After seven hours of intense walling activity, passing marks were awarded to […]

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Stone Travels in Yorkshire and Cumbria

Driving on the left side of the road, rubber sink-stoppers on a chain, grilled tomatoes for breakfast; these are some of the things to get used to, quickly, when on a six-day visit to the UK. I was there to take part in the DSWA Standardization and Assessment weekend for craftsman scheme examiners. Along the […]

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From the Maple Orchard to the Yorkshire Dales

Our bucket orchard produced enough sap for us to make 40 gallons of maple syrup this spring. The boiling is finished for the season and clean-up begins. The hope is to have all the equipment washed and put away before heading to England next week. This will be my fourth Standardization weekend with the Dry […]

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Sugaring Off

Maple Sugaring season can’t exactly be located on a calendar. It’s a time dictated by intertwining natural phenomena. Wind speed and direction, air temperature fluctuations above and below the freezing mark, snow cover, frost depth in the ground and strength of sunlight are some of the conditions that come into play to start a run […]

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Working Stone

Two days worth of indoor stone slinging last week completed the central stone feature at the Vermont Flower Show. Jared, T.J., Jamie, Brian and I finished up “Craggy Mountain” just as the trees, mulch and flowers closed in around us. On Friday I offered my slide-talk, “Working Stone,” to a standing-room-only crowd. The following words […]

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A Craggy Stone Peak at the Vermont Flower Show

Take a deep whiff of springtime in winter, it’s the Vermont Flower Show! The Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, Vermont has been transformed from an empty, football field-sized building into a Shangrila, alive with blooming trees and flowers. The past two days have been a swirl of activity as months of planning finally came […]

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Vermont Flower Show March 1-3, 2013

The age-old skill of constructing in dry stone is still alive today and being practiced by a growing number of professional wallers. Two weeks from now, a team of DSWA certified craftsmen from around the region will meet at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, to create a unique feature (scale model in photo) […]

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2013 Dry Stone Workshop at English Harbor Art Center

A distant foghorn, waves lapping against the harbor shore and the “blow” from a humpback whale surfacing in the bay; these are the sounds that often greet visitors coming to English Harbour, Newfoundland. This summer’s workshop goal will be to create a companion piece to the “Mock Maze” that was built in 2012. Participants will […]

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Gardening on Granite

Recently, I was a guest reader during a lecture by Gordon Hayward about his most recent book, Gardening on Granite, at the New Canaan Nature Center. The book was commissioned and privately published by our friend and client, Teddy Berg. Between its 160 pages of photographs and prose is a beautifully documented story of building […]

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Dry Stone Walling Workshop in Norway

Every baker knows it takes good ingredients to make a tasty pie. Now that plans for the dry stone workshop at Tutagrø, Norway have come together, I can see that our week in July is going to be a fantastic time. We have a beautiful setting, excellent accommodations and an abundance of building stone. All […]

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Winter Works

A children’s play house for a botanical garden, a folly for a pocket park under a highway bridge, and a sculpture installation at a harbor; these are some of the proposals in progress this winter at Dan Snow Stoneworks. The conditions on the ground outside have been best suited for skiing, boarding and snowshoeing, which […]

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Monumental Lithic Assemblages

Getting to work with skilled professionals under the direction of an artist who takes great joy in the making of things is pure delight for me. This week I was again on Hogpen Hill with Edward Tufte creating monumental lithic assemblages. From time to time, over the past year, I’ve gone to western Connecticut to […]

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A Story in Stone

The best two days in the life of a dry stone project are the first and the last. The first day is full of anticipation about how the great unknown will reveal itself. The course of the work has been formulated in the mind, but the process that will lead to an end only begins […]

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A Flash Course in Dry Stone Walling

Paul Bowen brought his Marlboro College sculpture class students to my work site today for a flash course in dry stone walling, and an outdoor “gallery” tour of nearby installations. My normally quiet scene became very lively for an hour as the group practiced building a field-stone retaining wall. They quickly grasped the concept of […]

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Stone Garden Grotto

My project this month is the construction of a series of retaining walls for an existing perennial garden. A brook trickles from the bank at the top of the garden and flows through a channel between two of the new walls. The grotto will become an ice cavern in winter months and a cool, shady […]

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Walls of Snowdonia

“Walls of Snowdonia”; it could be the title of a fantasy video game featuring my stoneworks. But, no, Snowdonia is a real place, and although I did make some stone wall repairs in Wales while visiting Philip Clark in the early 1990’s those walls are not included in this folio of beautiful photographs by Peter […]

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Dry Stone Livestock Pound

This is the season of color and light. Sunbeams stream through disrobed forest canopy, illuminating leaf-confettied ground. At this time of year the great outdoors acts like a psychedelic on my mind. Bathed in the kaleidoscope colors of autumn, I believe wishes can come true. Ever since the Dummerston town pound was recreated three years […]

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Hogpen Hill Farms Open House

Edward Tufte and the crew at Hogpen Hill Farms stayed busy on the land while I was away in Newfoundland and Oregon. An exciting collection of stones greeted me on arrival this past Monday. Edward’s sketches illustrated the direction he wished to move the work. Frank, Rob, Tom and I got right into it, constructing […]

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Ancient Agate Mine

When I’ve thought of the people who lived on the land that’s now America, one, two, ten thousand years ago, I’ve imagined that they led a simple, subsistence lifestyle. But after visiting an ancient agate adit in central Oregon I now have to adjust my vision of the past to include a more sophisticated cultural […]

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The Tarriance

The Tarriance is a found-object assemblage, environmental art work.  It is a sculpture having eternal and ephemeral components. The 34-stone construction is made from stream-worn “pillow” basalt boulders gathered from a gravel bank along the Santiam River in Mill City, Oregon and 70 year-old hand split, cast-offs collected from an abandoned granite quarry in Haines, […]

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The Tarriance under Blue Skies

The joke between the O.H. and I every morning here in Bend has been to wonder out loud what the day’s weather will be. Twelve hours of high desert sunshine has been routine these past two weeks while assembling the Tarriance at COCC. Getting rained out has not been in the realm of possibility on […]

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The Tarriance Sculpture – Setting a Stone Boulder

When I was a youngster I imagined there was an inexhaustible supply of people older than myself doing interesting and exciting things. With the passing of years I learned that their numbers must sadly, but quite naturally, dwindle. What I hadn’t perceived until recently is that all I have to do to find a growing […]

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Environmental Art and Dry Stone Workshop in Newfoundland

  In just three weeks the o.h.(other half) and I will be jumping in the car and driving to Newfoundland for workshops with English Harbour Arts Centre. One activity the 5-day workshop will be engaged in is the creation of an ephemeral environmental art piece. This year we will be working in a scree of […]

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A Transcontinental Journey

The last day on our transcontinental journey begins in Twin Falls, Idaho. By this afternoon we should be at our Oregon destination for the installation of a sculpture at the Central Oregon Community College. The O.H. and I have tag-team driven from Eastern Newfoundland across three provinces and twelve states in the past week and […]

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Newfoundland 2-Day Dry Stone Walling Workshop

Each morning a pair of loons fly from the high forest pond behind the house to the wide ocean bay at the bottom of the road. In the evening they make a return flight. They punctuate their daily routines with an intermittent call and response, stuttering laughs that draws me out onto the deck to […]

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Newfoundland 5-Day Dry Stone Walling Workshop

We must have done something right in a former life to get so lucky with the week’s weather during the recently completed English Harbour Arts Centre (EHAC) dry stone workshop. Seven participants from two provinces and three states worked under nearly rain-free skies for five days designing and building long-lasting walls and ephemeral art. Some […]

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Stone Megaliths

The last five pages of my notebook are covered in boulder sketches. Each one records the shape and dimensions of a large stone in Edward Tufte’s growing stock yard of material pried loose from ledges on his Hogpen Hill Farm. The pencil sketches are the first step in a method of discovery I’ve employed for […]

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Walling by the Decade

Part of what makes landscape art and design exciting for me is its cumulative effect on people and place. When I began building stone features on Richard Epstein’s property more than ten years ago he had a unformed, but long term vision of the space around his cabin. He wanted to keep the sequestered feel […]

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Silhouettes in Stone – Equinox Magazine

“Working hands inform thought and awaken understanding of the art builder’s place in the natural world. Undulant lines and patterned spaces are the result of many choices made by the builder who recognizes, and utilizes, the unique character of stone” Dan Snow The Stone Trust and the craft of dry stone walling in Vermont is […]

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A Dry Stone Eye in the Landscape

My time in the eye of the stone has passed. Yesterday saw the final vertical pieces set in the Horse Eye sculpture. Phase One is complete except for two elements being carved by Chris Curtis of West Branch Gallery in Stowe, Vermont. They will be lowered into place at a later date, replacing the styrofoam […]

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A Day of Stone Hunting with Dan Dunn

You have to love a state whose official rock is a petrified “burp.” Large areas of the land that is now the state of Oregon had bubbly, silicic lava periodically flowing out of it for 11 million years. The lava cooled and became buried. Water got into the hardened shell of the gas nodules and […]

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Stone Eye – Hot Horse Hide

Laboring in stone-craft is sweaty business even when the summer air temperature is moderate. Ramp the heat up to 95° F (35° C), add the radiant heat steaming off the stones, and I find myself working in a veritable, solar bake oven. The perspiration really starts to flow. Dust swirling around the site sticks to […]

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Dan Snow, sourcing local stone

Stone Hunting for the Tarriance

Stone hunting for The Tarriance sculpture project recently took me on a 1,300 mile, Oregon road trip. The trail led across dry shrub-lands, over evergreen-spired mountain passes, and along deep river gorges. In the west, three basalt boulders were located in a riverside gravel pit. In the east, slag from an abandoned granite quarry netted […]

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The Stone Eye – Nature All Around

When working alone in a country setting, as I have been on the stone eye project, the surroundings become my companion. This spring I’ve witnessed the trees slowly bud, and then quickly unfurl their greenery. Just this week a great blue heron winged its effortless way through the cloudless sky overhead. A glossy-backed, black bear […]

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Woodland Dolmens

It was excavator ballet at Hogpen Hill Farms this week. I had four machines at my disposal for the assembly of stone structures. Under Edward Tufte’s direction, the polite march of table tops created during previous sessions evolved into a stagger of dolmens. The new pieces, inspired by ancient lithic structures, progressed south along a […]

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Summer Dry Stone Walling Workshops in Newfoundland

Are you interested in learning the art and craft of dry stone walling in a beautiful northern coastal setting this summer?  If so, please contact Deb Wickwire for more information or to register: deb@englishharbourartsassociation.com or jwick911@yahoo.com cell 860 558 0449 But do it soon – currently there are only a few spots left in the […]

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The Stone Eye – Three Dry Stone Building Styles

Showers every day added up to 2” of precipitation and sloppy working conditions at the stone eye project this week. Safety glasses fogged and the mud sucked at my boots but I was glad to be outside making progress on the construction. The lead-sinker hanging guide-point system is proving to be very reliable and flexible. […]

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Stone Eye Passage Roof Stones

A recent chance drive-by along Vermont Route 15 led to the discovery of Jeffersonville Quarry, and a way forward with the stone eye. In less than 36 hours, I’d sourced stone for vaulting the ceiling of the passage, ordered the pieces (which were quickly quarried out by Ken Gillilan) trucked them to the building site, […]

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Gardening on Graniite

In late autumn of 2011 Gordon Hayward called to say that Teddy Berg had asked him to write a book about her gardens on Rice Mountain in Walpole, New Hampshire. He wanted to know if I’d care to contribute a few essays, and, of course, I said I’d be pleased and honored to do so. […]

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Stone Eye, Hot and Dry

Clouds are banking in from the west, bringing the first significant precipitation to Vermont in months. April’s weather has felt positively ‘Southern Californian.’ Under intense sunshine, in powder dry conditions, I got started laying stone on the Stone Eye Project this past week. This is my first experience working with stone from Mitchell Quarry. The […]

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Sand Trap Zen

An Asian dry garden? That’s what it looks like to me. But I’m not a golfer, so unable to fully appreciate the true value of a sand trap. This section of wall was swimming in a sea of mud when I built it last fall. The grass has come in, and now the ‘third hole’ […]

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Woodland Stone Tables

Another dry stone landform has begun to take shape at Hogpen Hill Farms. Three dozen “tables” have been assembled along one of the long ribs that constitute the high ground in the woodland park. The directive by Edward Tufte for this piece is to create the illusion of stones floating along the ridge top when […]

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Dry Stone Wall Workshops at The Stone Trust in Dummerston Vermont

A physically challenging and intellectually stimulating day of group, outdoor activity that’s not a competitive sport? Yes, it’s possible, and happening this spring on the bucolic grounds of Scott Farm, Dummerston, VT. The Stone Trust is offering workshops in the time-honored craft of building dry stone walls. Participants come from all walks of life to […]

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The Zig Zag Wall Takes a Final Turn

The zig-zag wall at Hogpen Farms has taken its final turn. Five entrance/exit ramps provide communication with the elevated wall top. A path, wide enough for a person and a dog to pass each other along its length, weaves its way across a forest glade. The perforated construction style allows light and air to flow […]

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The Tarriance

I’m pleased to announce that my competition proposal to create a sculpture on the grounds of Central Oregon Community College has been selected by the Art Acquisitions Committee. The 201-acre Bend campus, with views of the beautiful Cascade mountains, has been growing since the 1960’s. Over 18,000 students are enrolled at COCC this academic year. […]

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ET Modern Gallery Presentation – Stone and Art in Nature

Blustery winds carried a host of folks into ET Modern Gallery for my presentation, ‘Stone and Art in Nature’ on Saturday. So many of them were old friends that it felt more like a party than a slide show. Edward Tufte’s Chelsea gallery is a fantastic venue for informal get-togethers. His latest sculpture series, “All […]

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The Tarriance Sculpture Proposal

Being chosen as a finalist in a competition, and asked to submit a sculpture proposal, got me thinking. Here’s an institution of higher learning looking for a piece of art to grace the exterior of a new building on their campus. What could I offer that would enrich the sensory experience of students, faculty, staff […]

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Diamond Mines Frosted with Snow

Birgit, Elin’s Danish aunt, took a walk in the winter woods of TICKON recently to find my “Diamond Mines” frosted with snow. Only having seen the piece in autumn, when I completed it, it’s exciting for me to have a glimpse of how it looks in a different season. Thanks, Birgit, Lars, Susanne, Thomas and […]

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Light and Shadow Boxed in Stone

Another spurt of mild weather found me back in Connecticut for more work on Hogpen Hill. Chuck, Jared, Matt and Brian joined me in continuing the walling events begun on the previous visit, three weeks ago, and in starting something new. Edward Tufte’s thinking about what he’d like done on his land evolves as the […]

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English Harbour Arts Centre Workshops and Stone Maze

The dates have been set for the two English Harbour Arts Centre workshops I will be instructing this coming summer. Five-day and two-day long courses, July 29 – August 2 and August 4 -5, will focus on constructing new dry stone walls on the grounds of the art centre. The finished works will represent pieces […]

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Winter Walling in an Art and Nature Park

An unexpected weather-window opened up this week allowing Chuck, Jared and I to begin work on a new project. A wooded mountaintop plateau in western Connecticut is the site of an art and nature park being created by Edward Tufte. His monumental sculptures already grace the open meadows at the south end of the property. […]

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Authors of Dummerston

This Sunday, the “Authors of Dummerston” exhibit opens at the Historical Society Schoolhouse. The exhibit will showcase local writers. I am honored to be a part of an exhibit that includes not only Rudyard Kipling but many talented living writers as well. Stop by and check it out if you are anywhere nearby. Details below […]

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Stone and Art in Nature

I will be giving a talk at the ET Modern Gallery in NYC in February.Here is the announcement. With thanks to Edward Tufte for the invitation to give a talk. Hope to see you there. ET MODERN GALLERY 547 West 20th Street, (corner of 11th Avenue) NYC, NYFEBRUARY 25, 20122 pm  STONE AND ART IN NATUREVermont […]

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Twenty-Eleven

Going back through the year 2011 in my iPhoto files, I was drawn to those depicting family and friends, new and old. A collection of recollections dear to my heart. From maple sugaring season and projects at home in Vermont and New England, to travels in Finland, Newfoundland, Norway and Denmark, the fun began when […]

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Stone Eye Guiding Grid

Despite temperatures in the 20’s Fahrenheit and a steady north wind, progress continued this week on the stone eye sculpture. The guide frame and 6” grid are in place, waiting now for a day warm enough to allow bare fingers to function properly for hanging the lines and weights that will establish the ‘points in […]

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The Stone Trust: Up and Running

While wallers in east-central USA have had the excellent Dry Stone Conservancy as a beacon for the craft for many years, stone workers in the northeast have had to go it on their own. Until now. After only one year in existence, The Stone Trust has become an important regional resource for all things dry […]

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Stone Eye Sculpture Site Preparations

In their later years, my parents enjoyed belonging to Vermont’s “251 Club.” Members travel around the state visiting all 251 towns, checking them off a list, just for fun. Maybe someday I’ll join, too, making my personal quest to see all of Vermont in a more organized way. For now, I’m satisfied to explore different […]

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A Stone Eye

A trip to Plainfield, Vermont in the F450 last week netted a dump load of wall stone from Mitchell’s Quarry. The quarry’s bedrock is a layered mix of quartzite, a granular metamorphic rock, and phyllite, a slaty rock with minute scales of mica.Yesterday, I built some of the stone into a short wall to test […]

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Points in Space

Every new idea leads to an adventure. In the past when I’ve wanted to record and transfer “points-in-space” from a clay model to a full scale construction I’ve made a grid-style guide frame and physically measured the distance from the frame to the surface of the model. To build the horse eye sculpture I will […]

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Disturbing the Silence

Poet Wendell Berry advises those who practice his craft to “make poems that don’t disturb the silence from which they come.” The same suggestion could be made for the construction of environmental art. It is often made in locations that are perfectly at peace. Creators of outdoor art risk disturbing an existing balance when they […]

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Stone Wall Reconstruction on the Rock River

Before Irene – photo courtesy of Linda Walker After Irene – photo courtesy of Linda Walker Williamsville is a village in the town of Newfane, Vermont, just three miles, as the crow flies, from my home in Dummerston. While we had little, or no, damage in our town from flooding in September, Irene devastated the […]

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Cochecho Wall in the Snow

Trick-or-treaters had the trick played on them this autumn when a pre-Halloween Nor’easter dropped a foot of snow on our area. Witches and goblins don’t usually have to scale snowbanks to ring doorbells. And I don’t expect my stone supplies to disappear under a blanket of white stuff in October. But after a short delay, […]

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Dan Snow, Stone Turtle Sculpture

A Stone Turtle

When a favorite customer asked me if I would consider making an animal, any animal, out of dry stone last summer I immediately said, ‘yes’. Then the puzzling began. What animal shape could I fashion that would be recognizable, and also durable, using only dry stone techniques? It was especially important to the customer that […]

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DSWA Test Day at the Stone Trust

All seven candidates passed their respective levels of DSWA testing on Sunday, due in some measure I’m sure, to the practice many took on Friday at The Stone Trust center to prepare themselves for the rigors of taking a timed dry stone walling test. Building to a predetermined standard and having two examiners, Dave Goulder […]

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A Day of Walling in the Woods

Dry stone walling can be defined in its simplest terms as the act of placing one stone on two. But no sooner is that act completed when a much broader world view opens to the stone worker. This understanding was the basis of the one-day workshop held last Saturday in Dummerston, Vermont. Eleven participants from […]

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Force of Nature

When I built this wall in Jamaica, Vermont, thirty-odd years ago, my concern for its longevity came out of its close proximity to the road. I expected  a car might back into it, or the snow plow jostle it. The notion that Ball Mountain Brook might one day destroy it never crossed my mind. But […]

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DSWA Testing at the Stone Trust

Congratulations go out to Brian Post on his successful completion of Part A of the DSWA Level 3 certification test. Brian chose the ‘lunky hole’ feature to build alongside the mandatory curved wall section. He built his test pieces at the Stone Trust indoor training and testing facility in Dummerston, Vermont. On October 22nd Brian, […]

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A Dry Stone Foundation

Stone I harvested back in July got a work-out this week in the construction of a small foundation for a neighbor.  Even before the new woodshed was completed, its builder was contemplating the addition of a space to store yard carts. Consequently, I was asked to build a dry stone foundation off the south end […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines Land Art

Text for the TICKON Catalog. DIAMOND MINES 2011 TICKON LAND ART “Diamond Mines” is an abstract, site-specific sculpture built of loose, natural stone. The work is situated on westward-sloping ground in a grove of mature beech trees. Wooded hills rise to the north and south. Park paths wind along the west and north sides of […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines

The final days in Denmark were filled with activity for me and E. The daytime hours were spent touring Langeland with friends Peter and Phyllis visiting from Vermont. In the evenings we were feted by our Danish families and by our TICKON hosts. Back in Vermont, the sun sets earlier and rises later. My internal […]

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TICKON Diamond Mines in the News

Earlier this week, the local newspaper stopped by the TICKON site for an interview. Hopefully the article will be available online within a few days. For now – a couple of photos.

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TICKON Sculpture Installation Completed

I Dug Up a Diamond  ‘I dug up a diamond rare and fine, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine. If only I could cling to my beautiful find, I dug up a diamond in a deep dark mine.My gem is special beyond all worth, strong as any metal, or stone in […]

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TICKON – Working at the Diamond Mines

About once an hour, or so, someone walks by the site and asks me what I’m doing. Often they wonder if I am repairing something. I’ve been told the piece looks like a temple, fishponds, and human tissue under a microscope. “How long before it’s finished?” and, “What’s it called?” are the common follow-up questions […]

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TICKON – Diamond Mines Discovered in Tranekær Castle Park

If you are anywhere nearby…please join us!   DIAMOND MINES DISCOVERED IN TRANEKÆR CASTLE PARKStone Art Building in Nature: Creating a Connection with the Spirit of Place A talk and slide show Tuesday 13 September 20117 pmSukkerfabrikken, Slottsgade 76, Tranekær, LangelandFree admissionCoffee and cakeWelcome!Introduction by Ole JohnsenFor more information, please contact:Ole Johnsen+45 50 91 02 […]

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TICKON Installation Past the Halfway Mark

The TICKON installation is past the halfway mark thanks to the help of Alfio Bonnano and Ole Johnsen who have coordinated all the logistics of tools and materials, plus, made us feel at home away from home. On site, Francesca and Jared have put in long hours raising the walls of the piece that will […]

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TICKON – Sourcing Tools, Stone and Equipment in Langeland

It took me a few days to ‘get’ TICKON’s method of operation but I can now appreciate it for its full value. The art park owns no tools or equipment. Everything needed to produce a new installation is gathered piecemeal from community members in the surrounding villages. So, for the first few days of my […]

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TICKON – Fieldstone and Hearting

The field-stone for my installation at TICKON (Tranekær International Centre for Art and Nature) comes with some of the “field” it was gathered from; mud. My first objective has been to dig out the stone. While the supply was drying out I began setting up batter frames. Each board describes an inside corner of the […]

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Dry Stone Cairns in Norway

The previous post elicited a question from a reader about the dry stone cairn in the top photo. It’s a trail marker, one of hundreds found alongside the old routes in Norway for crossing the high country from one valley community to another. They are spaced approximately 50 meters apart to help guide those traveling […]

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TICKON Art Park

From the glacier fed streams of Norway’s Jotunheimen mountains, I’ve traveled this past week to the low, wetlands of Denmark. In fact, I’m living in a 300 year-old house alongside a castle moat. This is the artist’s residence for TICKON, the environmental art park I’ll be working in for the next month. Yesterday 20 tons […]

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Lillehammer Art Museum Sculptured Garden

Continuing on the subject of sculpture gardens, here’s a nice example I saw yesterday outside the Art Museum in Lillehammer, Norway. Created in 1992 by Bard Breivik, the ‘sculptured garden’ is a cascade of stone and water. It begins serenely on flat ground at the height of the space. There, a screen of vertical granite […]

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Dedication of the BMAC Sculpture Garden

This Saturday will mark the dedication of Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s new Sculpture Garden. Since I’m in Scandinavia and unable to attend, I’ve written a few words to be read at the ceremony. My thanks to museum board chairman, Bruce Berg, for reading. All best wishes on the day to those attending.  Dedication of […]

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Sculpture Along the Canal in Uddevalla, Sweden

While driving through Sweden on the way to Norway I saw this pair of stone sculptures along-side the canal in Uddevalla. The chair, and “room”, are assembled from carved and broken slabs that are bolted together by threaded rods. I think the combination of natural forms and carved, polished surfaces on the same stone is […]

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The Fourth Corner is Finished, English Harbour Arts Centre Dry Stone Workshop

The fourth corner is finished, bringing the 2011 English Harbour Arts Centre dry stone workshop to an end. The footprint of the final construction is ‘L’ shaped, fittingly following the pattern of singularly unique shapes created in the previous works: hexagonal, square and circular. With the stone corners in place, the “riddle” fence workshop will […]

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The Dry Stone Workshops at English Harbour Newfoundland

The dry stone workshops at English Harbour have been treated to buffeting winds, lightning storms, muffling fog and dazzling sunshine over these past two weeks. Participants have gone from working in tee shirts to suiting up in insulated rain-gear. Whatever the weather conditions of the day (or hour) it’s been exhilarating working on the Newfoundland […]

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The Magic of Whales at Night – English Harbour, Newfoundland

Last night the sky over the harbor was totally star-twinkled. From the bay, which was uncharacteristically placid, came the “whooshing” sound of whales’ breaths. The huge animals rhythmically rose to the water’s surface in the darkness, exhaling plumes of sea mist. They were invisible to the eye but must have been very close to shore. […]

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A Stone Lantern – English Harbour Dry Stone Workshop

While other parts of Canada are experiencing record high temperatures, here on the east coast of Newfoundland we go about in wool sweaters and windbreakers. Lightning storms have made quick visits overhead in the nighttime. Strong winds blow intermittently through the day. But always, in the past week, there has been fog. Time stands still […]

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Dry Stone Walling Workshop English Harbour Newfoundland

Since my arrival in English Harbour under clear blue skies three days ago, the fog has crept in and kept our dry stone walling workshop blanketed in degrees of gray. However, the enthusiasm of all six participants has been nothing less than rainbow bright. They started out on Monday brainstorming their way to a design […]

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Summer Shower

The hot workdays of the past week were relieved by a very special on-site amenity. An outdoor shower surround that I built last year was recently outfitted with hot and cold running water. After wrestling large slabs into a set of front steps for my customer I was able to strip down and rinse off […]

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Abundant Stone Harvest

Last week’s stone gathering was harsh work in a tranquil setting. The side-hill that I harvest loose stone from is a mile into the woods up a steep trail. Until the Clark’s and I invaded the scene with loading and transport equipment it was peaceful wilderness. A working landscape, by definition, must tolerate periodic disruptions. […]

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A Wall Rebuilt

Often the fatigue that sets into a stone wall over time is caused by natural conditions. This weekend I noticed a piece of wall in Eastern Massachusetts that had been disrupted by the growth of a beech tree. The decorative border wall in the yard of an old farm house was completely subsumed by the […]

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Sky Watch

Thanks to Sunny Wieler from Ireland for the mention of Sky Watch on his recent stargazing in the garden article – and for telling me about these beautifully hand crafted garden telescopes – also from Vermont.

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Thinking in Clay

The road to a project’s completion is often a long and winding one. That’s why it’s worth taking time along the way to enjoy the view. The installation I’ll be doing at TICKON in Denmark later this summer began last year with an invitation from the art park to submit a proposal. Over the months, […]

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Neo Ancient Dolmens

  Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Dummerston Dolmen in Denmark 5,000 years ago, in the land that is now Denmark, the dead were entombed in boulder chambers. Dolmens, as they are known to archaeologists, were once covered with earth mounds. Exposed by erosion and excavation, many are now visible […]

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Dan Snow, Wishing Wells, Installation, dry stone construction

Vermont Public Radio Interview

Earlier this week I was interviewed on Vermont Public Radio as part of a series on Vermont artists. Here is a link to a podcast of the interview. And here is the link to the interview in the VPR archives. Scroll down for a photo gallery of my work.

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A Single Stone

Sometimes a single stone is just too big to lift with available equipment. A simple solution is to turn it into two. A rotary hammer armed with a masonry bit will drill six, ⅝” holes in less than ten minutes. Wedge and shim sets are tapped into the holes until a seam opens and the […]

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VPR “Visiting Artists” Series Interview

My interview on Vermont Public Radio is airing at noon today – most likely after the segment on under-age drinking parties.  Jane Lindholm visited me at work in Dummerston last week for a feature on this month’s installment in Vermont Edition’s “Visiting Artists” series. Click on VPR’s Vermont Edition for more info.

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Wiggle Wall

This week I put in a couple days on a “subscription” wall. Every year the customer asks me to add another six yards to its length. They budget a set amount per year for stone work and I schedule it as I wish. This is the third year for this 2’x2’ construction. It follows the […]

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The Stone Trust Open House

The Stone Trust wraps up its spring season of dry stone walling activities with an open house this Sunday from 1-4 at Scott Farm. It’s been a productive first year for the organization, with a successful slate of volunteer days, workshops, DSWA tests, pre-test trainings and a two-day Instructor’s course. Anyone and everyone with an […]

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Workshop: Art and the Working Landscape: Shaping our Environment Today

Cultivated land is a handmade environment. In centuries past, the face of Newfoundland was shaped by domestic agricultural activity. While many of the stone walls built during those times have lost their stature as fences, their presence remains a defining characteristic of the land. The close attention that farmers paid to their surroundings is comparable […]

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Dry Stone Walling Workshop Scheduled for October 22, 2011

The one and only Dave Goulder, master craftsman and folk musician Wanted to alert you all to an upcoming outdoor one-day workshop in Dummerston, Vermont. Details below. Please contact The STONE Trust for information and to register.Saturday, October 22, 2011 (One-day Workshop)October 22, 20119 am-3:30 pmInstructors: Dave Goulder and Dan SnowLocation: Dummerston Hiking Trail, Dummerston […]

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The Kerava Art Museum – Reika Avaruudessa

The trees in the parks of Helsinki were beginning to show signs of awakening from their winter sleep when I arrived here early May. Today, my last day in Finland on this trip, they are flush with lush green leaves. I leave behind good friends, old and new. It’s been an exciting few weeks of […]

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Hole in the Universe

Below is the gist of my presentation for the artist’s seminar that preceded the opening of the show at Kerava Art Museum yesterday.The title and theme for this exhibition is ‘Hole in the Universe’. I don’t know how it sounds in Finnish but the word ‘hole’, in English, can be heard as ‘whole’; with a […]

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

I recently received a request for an interview from garden writer Hazel Sillver for an upcoming feature on stone walls and stone art for the September issue of Homes&Gardens (UK) magazine. Thought I’d share her questions and my responses.   Q: Why do you work with dry stone? What do you love about it? A: […]

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Art Making: Process Practice Patience

As the opening of the exhibition, “Hole in the Universe”, on May 27th will show, there are many ways to interpret the term “Environmental Art”. Artists from six countries are now busy preparing their works inside Kerava Art Museum. I’m outside on the grounds of the museum putting together my piece. I take environmental art […]

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Kerava Art Museum Opening Invitation

You are cordially invited! Exhibition Opening Friday 27 May 2011 5 – 7 PM Info from the Kerava Art Museum website: HOLE IN THE UNIVERSEMay 27 – August 28, 2011The exhibition, brought to being by sculptor and professor of Environmental Art Markku Hakuri, focuses on the human and the surrounding universe poetically through surprising spatial […]

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Kerava Art Museum – Dry Stone Sculpture Emerging

The dry stone sculpture rising out of the lawn outside Kerava Art Museum is beginning to attract local attention. People on their way to work are slowing down as they pass. Some stop and ask what’s happening. I learned through a student interpreter that one fellow said he liked seeing natural stone being used, that […]

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Sculpture Making at Kerava Art Museum

The first full day of sculpture making at Kerava Art Museum brought one form to completion. Because this is a temporary exhibit, I’m building directly on the lawn grass. The granite pebbles and cobbles are easy to handle and a nice change of pace from heavy lifting, even though I do have to spend most […]

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Sourcing Stone in Finland

Yesterday, Professor Markku Hakuri took me for a train and bus ride to check out the site for my installation at Kerava Art Museum. This morning I went ten miles outside of Helsinki to a look at gravel pit. A ‘tailings’ pile I found there has the right ingredients for making a piece that combines […]

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Firewood Towers

To be an effective dry stone waller one needs to be an efficient materials manager. An abundance of stone must be gathered, transported, shifted and lifted before a wall comes to completion. Handling stone more than necessary wastes time, and more importantly, personal energy. The lessons I’ve learned in managing stone have been valuable in […]

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Sky Watch

The lead up to most of my projects can take months of correspondence and cogitation. That’s alright with me because it allows time for my dreams and desires to grow and wither, or grow and flourish, as they will, before the first stone is picked up and put down. Now and then, an offer to […]

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DSWA Test Day in Vermont

If you went looking for a bunch of guys building stone walls you probably wouldn’t start under an old barn, but that’s where you would have found them today in Dummerston, Vermont. The former milking parlor at Scott Farm has been transformed into a top-notch training and testing site. Eight wallers from as far north […]

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The Stone Fence at the Eighth Hole

Work on the 8th hole stone fence at Cochecho Country Club in Dover, New Hampshire ended on a bright note yesterday with sunny skies. The golfers were out in droves. It will be interesting to see how the new wall becomes part of course play. A ball that hits the wall will ricochet toward the […]

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A Day at Green Mountain College

It’s not every school where you can see chickens free-ranging on the lacrosse field during a practice, but Green Mountain College isn’t every school. During a recent visit to Poultney, Vermont to lecture and instruct a walling workshop at the college I discovered a vibrant educational community that’s leading the way in environmental studies. The […]

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Stone Hunting

After the snow has gone and before the leaves bud out there’s a pause between seasons that’s just right for exploring the woods. Because the forest floor litter has yet to rebound from its recent compaction from the weight of snow, land shapes are clearly defined. Ancient trees have left evidence of their former stature […]

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A Galloway Wall in Dover

An inch of rain isn’t the best way to start a new job, but that’s what I got Wednesday in Dover, New Hampshire where I was beginning construction at a golf course. The original fence ran alongside of an old town road. Its remnants had been pulled down by the course maintenance crew and a […]

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Rock Rest

Three days this week were devoted to dismantling and reassembling a sculpture titled ‘Rock Rest’. The piece was designed and constructed last December at my stone yard with the intention that it would eventually be installed at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center’s new sculpture garden. On Sunday I numbered and catalogued the 50+ stones […]

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Art and the Working Landscape

Cultivated land is a handmade environment. Over the past two centuries, the rural face of Vermont has been shaped by farm life. While the stone walls built during that time have lost their stature as livestock fences, their presence has become a defining characteristic of the land. A dry laid stone wall, that has stood […]

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A Memorial in Stone

Highland Cemetery has been central to the community of Dover, Massachusetts, both physically and culturally, for three centuries. I was there yesterday to deliver and install a headstone. The client wanted something unique and asked me to design a piece that would have a sense of motion. I took his signature from a letter, enlarged […]

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Scaling Fences – Part Three

Scaling Fences is the third in a series of my historical fiction/fantasies for early spring reading. It will be posted in three chapters. Here’s Part Three. Oil paintings by Bill Long, Moss Moon Studio. Scaling FencesPart 3 Before ’52, settlers out here had cleared a thousand acres in no time. Twenty shillings per acre, the […]

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Scaling Fences – Part Two

Scaling Fences is the third in a series of my historical fiction/fantasies for early spring reading. It will be posted in three chapters. Here’s Part Two. Oil paintings by Bill Long of Moss Moon Studio. Scaling Fences Part Two  For my life as a woodsman, the turning came in the year of ‘52. Unbeknownst to us […]

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Scaling Fences – Part One

Scaling Fences is the third in a series of my historical fiction/fantasies for early spring reading. It will be posted in three chapters. Here’s Part One. Oil paintings by Bill Long of Moss Moon Studio.Scaling Fences Part One   To look at my humble home and me, you might think both of us had always […]

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Gardens and Spirit and Stone

Wednesday evening found me giving a slide talk in a church basement. Normally such a venue conjures a vision of low ceilings and linoleum floors. But this wasn’t your ordinary church basement. The undercroft of Trinity Church at Copley Square in Boston was excavated a few years ago to make new social, administrative and educational […]

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Open Ground

The following illustrated story is one of my historical fiction/fantasies. The second in a series for early spring. I will be posting others, along with oil paintings by Bill Long, Moss Moon Studio.Open Ground A clear primordial light refracts in the crystalline grain of the rotting snow pack and reflects back toward the pale blue […]

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Creating A Connection With The Spirit Of Place

Photo Credit: Allan Goodman Flaws add character to both stones and people. Stone workers find inspiration to create in the imperfections of stone. They combine the force of their own imperfections with the power of stones to bring spirit into being. This, and related themes on the subject of Gardens and Spirit will be part […]

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DSWA Instructor Training Course

Pictured above Steve, Matt, Travis, Chuck, Jared, Evan, Andrew, Chris, Michael, Brian, Dean, Akira Eleven participants, lead by Steve Jonas, recently completed a DSWA Instructor Training Course here in Dummerston, Vermont. The two-day course included guidelines and tips for, and practice conducting, a successful dry stone walling workshop. The Instructor Course is open to anyone […]

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Fish Traps

Geology is a kind of detective work, a study of the forces that have shaped the earth. It looks for evidence of past actions in rock that now lies motionless. The grand sweep of geologic time contains many epic dramas, but to my taste they’re just a little too cold and impersonal. My interest in […]

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Carnal Knowledge

Skjak, Norway lichen stonephoto: Elin Supernova Remnantphoto credit and copyright: Nobuhiko Miki I’m incarnate to experience eternity through a perspective. Boundlessness emanates from my place on earth at every moment. I witness its depth and breath to the degree that I go inward and outward in equal measure. By seeking the center of my awareness […]

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The Croggery

In 1975 I built my home using wood and stone harvested from the property. For a while in the 80’s I raised milk goats. Most years, I’ve tapped the maple trees and made syrup. “Croggery” is the traditional Irish term for a 16 acre lot; the minimum area needed for a family with a cow […]

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Dummerston Stone Quarry

Black Mountain’s surface is cracked and crazed. Mammoth slabs of loose rock, some hundreds of tons apiece, litter its slopes. The hardness of the great dome would seem undefaceable by any actions short of glacial, but human intervention has left its mark. In the early 20th century, a quarrying operation extracted stone from a pit […]

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A Dry Stone Wall is an Expression of Quiet Strength

Boulder Dyke (singling) Scotland Croft Ruin Scotland A dry stone wall is an expression of quiet strength. Its strength lies in its stability. Its stability in the placement of each stone by its maker. Each stone quietly rests, and in turn becomes a resting place. A collection, a construction, and in the end, a dry […]

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Two Watersheds

Two Windham County watersheds divide on the ridge line of my house. Today, icicles drip from the eaves on the north and south sides. The droplets hit the ground and join other melt waters running down through the woods on terrain that tilts either toward the West River to the northeast, or Stickney Brook to […]

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Dry Stone Walling Across Canada

After more than a decade as the Dry Stone Wall Association of Canada, John and Mary Shaw-Rimmington are very pleased to announce a new name, Dry Stone Walling Across Canada.The name has changed but their aims remain the same. They will continue to focus on the use of dry laid stonework in Canada, both historically […]

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The Vermont Flower Show

  Yesterday was the start of construction on a dry stone walling display for the 2011 Vermont Flower Show. A traditional Buddhist  “stupa” shape was chosen to highlight coursed, right angle, and round building techniques. A group of dry stone wallers from Vermont, New Hampshire and England have volunteered their time to the project. The […]

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Rock

“Inyan (Rock) had no beginning for he was when there was no other.  Soft and shapeless like a cloud, but he had all the powers and was everywhere. If there was to be another he must create it of that which he must take from himself.  His power was in his blood and his blood […]

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Dry Stone Walling Workshop

As much as I’d like to participate in the upcoming Stone Trust workshop, I will be out of the country in May. It promises to be a great workshop! Please contact Jared Flynn for more info. DRY STONE WALLING WORKSHOP Date: Saturday and Sunday, May 14, 15, 8AM – 4:30 PM Location: Dutton Farm Road, Dummerston, Vermont Instructors: Jared Flynn, Andrew […]

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Update on DSWA Testing Day April 30

Photo Credit Scott Farm DRY STONE WALLING ASSOCIATION CERTIFICATION TEST DAYDate: Saturday, April 30, 2011, 8 AM – 4 PMLocation: Dutton Farm Road, Dummerston, VermontExaminers: Dan Snow,  Michael WeitznerLevels 1 and 2 Certification Plan Tests, other levels can be arrangedFee: Initial – $200; Intermediate – $300Fee covers: examiner, registration with DSWA/GB, overseas andadministration costsRegistration deadline: […]

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Erratic Behavior

Everyone has their own story about stone. While hanging out with the cinematographer who taped the video that became “Stone Rising”, John M. told me about a stone that made a big impression on him as a boy. Beginning early in primary school, John heard whispers from his schoolmates about certain landmarks in the forbidden […]

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Background

We meet the future on its way through background by way of the senses and memory.  Background is everything that has happened within our sphere of awareness. Every new moment in our lives is sifted through background.  We move forward comparing, assessing and averaging our past understandings. The more experiences we have, the larger part […]

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DSWA Test Day Scheduled for April 30th

DSWA Test DayDate: 8 AM – 4 PM, Saturday, April 30, 2011 Location: Dummerston Vermont, USA – exact location TBDLevels 1 and 2 Certification Scheme Tests, other levels can be arrangedExaminers: Dan Snow, other examiner TBDFor more information contact venue organizer Jared Flynn flynn.stone@yahoo.com or (802) 254-2432  Please note DSWA deadline!Applications for examination (“Overseas” Test Application) […]

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How-to on eHow

Photo by Allan Goodman, Kansas State University I was recently interviewed by Jerri Brummond, a contributor to the online publication eHow. Her article highlights the history, preservation and crafting of dry stone walls. The Dry Stone Conservancy’s four basic principles for building a sturdy dry stone construction are included in the text. Check out the […]

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Happy Valentine’s Viiru

The viiru that have given me the idea for the sculpture I’m proposing to build at the Kerava Art Museum often appear in the shape of X’s. For a number of years now, I’ve been photographing X’s whenever and wherever I come across them in nature. Today being a special day for X’s I thought […]

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Reika Avaruudessa – A Hole in the Universe

Collage Sketch Collage Sketch During the snowy months I get busy indoors with planning for the up-coming building season. For the outdoor installation at Kerava Museum of Art I’ve settled on a theme and written a materials list. I’ve also made collage sketches to illustrate the way I desire the work to feel (not how […]

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Finland in May

Wallers, don’t throw out that old fuel container, turn it into a “hearting” bucket! I saw this clever reapplication at a one-man quarry operation in Finland a few years ago. This coming May I’ll be returning to that beautiful land at the invitation of artist friend, Markku Hakuri, and Kerava Art Museum to build a […]

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Still heading to Boston for the New England Grows talk

Still heading to Boston for the New England Grows talk. Hope to see you there. This Thursday I will be at N.E. Grows! in Boston to present Artscaping: Design and Installation of Land-made Sculpture. The talk will be accompanied by slides detailing the process of identifying the artistic possibilities of outdoor space. Case studies of […]

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Artscaping: Design and Installation of Land-made Sculpture

Wave WallGroup art making exercise, Newfoundland Outdoor Shower enclosure, Dummerston, Vermont Amphitheatre modelFire-clay 1:10 scale stones This Thursday I will be at N.E. Grows! in Boston to present Artscaping: Design and Installation of Land-made Sculpture. The talk will be accompanied by slides detailing the process of identifying the artistic possibilities of outdoor space. Case studies […]

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Sheep Shed

This is the tenth of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s. With the gardens around the home completed and planted, no additional dry stone walling was required of me. I thought my building […]

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Working With Stone: Creating A Connection With The Spirit Of Place

In his book, Pilgrimage to Vallombrosa, John Elder asks, “Where will we find the circling mind of ceremony that allows us to recognize ourselves in kinship with the world?”  The ancient books of the East say that when the hands of a craftsman are engaged in his or her craft, the act is always ceremonial. […]

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Hanging Garden

This is the ninth of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.The stone work that completed the garland of gardens that trim the Berg’s home began as a tribute to the All-Star quarterback, John […]

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Garden Details

This is the eighth in a series of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.If Mrs. Berg’s gardens can be thought of as a series of paintings, then their frames are made of my […]

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The Grotto

This is the seventh in a series of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.The terrace walls for the perennial beds were built to a prepared schematic. The finished form was identical to the […]

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Silo and North Terraces

This is the sixth in a series of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.The gardens and grounds of Rice Mountain are a remarkable achievement. To know that they were created from scratch in […]

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The Barn Foundation

Copyright Peter Mauss/Esto Copyright Peter Mauss/Esto Copyright Peter Mauss/Esto Copyright Peter Mauss/Esto Dan – photo by Gordon Hayward 1986 This is the fifth of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.When Mrs. Berg called […]

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The World of Made Things

The subject of my talk at the National Green Centre on Sunday will be “Landscaping and Art Making: Two sides of the same coin”. The coin, itself, is the value we place on our surroundings. While the natural environment is unquestionably the soul of our surroundings, I will focus my talk on the world of […]

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Monk’s Brewery Garden

  This is the fourth of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s.   As the house construction under Mr. Berg’s direction expanded to the east, Mrs. Berg’s “re-wilding” of cleared land continued to […]

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A Stone Works Tour

Employing a medium and a method of construction that has proven itself over thousands of years I understand that my works in dry stone may be around long after I’m gone. But what I hadn’t fully grasped, until recently, is that they also develop a personality, and life of their own, independent of their making […]

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Bone Yard

      This is the third of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain. The logical story of my becoming acquainted with stone would have stone walls threading through Vermont woods as its theme but truth is stranger than fiction. I came to stone in the canyons […]

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Half Dome

My first dry stone walls for Mrs. Berg’s gardens were built to support terraced planting beds. I gathered stone for the steps and walls from talus slopes lying under ledge outcrops on a wooded mountainside in Townshend, Vermont. I discovered the gold mine of building material while working for the property owners a few years […]

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Entrance Garden

This is the first of ten short essays on the design and stone work I did on Rice Mountain for the Berg family over an 18 year period beginning in the late 1980’s. The essays will be posted twice a week for the next five weeks. Happy New Year to all. Entrance GardenMy great grandfather […]

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Landscapes Deeply Felt

An Alberto Giacometti sculpture of the human figure retains the immediacy of its making. There is a freshness of expression that continues to exude from the busts he made of his brother, Diego, more than 70 years after they were created. Last week I viewed a show of Giacometti’s work at Eykyn-Maclean Gallery in New York […]

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Bitter Sweet

After the leaves have left the trees and before snow blankets the ground there’s a time the landscape goes bare naked. It’s the season when pale light’s filtered through thin clouds to softly illuminate every twig and tuft of grass. Frost puts a hard grip on the surface of everything, including stone. Stones that were […]

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Rock Rest

Last week was reveille in the stone yard. I called upon stones I’ve been saving many a moon to create a special sculpture. “Rock Rest” was designed and assembled with the intent that it eventually be disassembled, moved and reassembled. The hope is that a patron of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center will purchase […]

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Testing Trio

I had a request to post photos of the timed test walls built by myself, Neil Rippingale and Chris Tanguay in Kentucky last October. So, here they are, all received passing marks!  Photos: top – Dan, middle – Neil, bottom – Chris.

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Hunting and Gathering

Sometimes it’s worth examining a personal predilection to learn where it stems from. I have a fascination with sculpture parks and gardens. It’s only been in adult life that I’ve experienced them so it’s not an interest I’ve inherited. But there are family activities from my childhood that could be linked.  Both my mother and […]

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Getting It Right

It’s exciting to discover a venue for the arts that’s getting it right. The Indianapolis Art Museum’s 100 Acres sculpture park is one that is in every way. A former gravel pit has been transformed through natural reclamation and architectural design to become an art and nature park. The ongoing commission of site specific art works […]

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More Cool Tools

Looking for a good marking tool for stone? The dusty corner of your attic or basement may be the best place to find one. Old 78 RPM disks are made of shellac mixed with various fillers and compounds. When broken up, the edge of a shard can be used to draw a clear, black line […]

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Tools of the Trade

For the first thirty years of my professional life as a dry stone waller I worked primarily alone. Stone work lends itself to solitary employment because it’s a hand craft, and because the act of getting each uniquely shaped stone onto the wall requires a degree of creative expression. I’ve enjoyed working on my own, […]

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The Creation of Beauty

There’s a peculiar feeling I get by being in the presence of greatness. I don’t know how it works but, in some way, experiencing greatness feels like a validation of my own humble existence. Whether it’s a natural phenomena or the work of one creative mind, exposure to something wonderfully unique is uplifting, and a […]

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Botanical Garden Arboretum

The State Botanical Garden of Kentucky has an Arboretum in Lexington. New to the grounds is The Kentucky Children’s Garden. One of its objectives is to help children develop an understanding of the environment and a love and respect for the Earth. The stone work that the Dry Stone Conservancy has done there will go a […]

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DSWA Test Day

The day was Halloween but Brittany was fearless in taking on her DSWA Level One test. The Vermont Technical College student was well prepared, having spent much of the past summer working as an apprentice to a professional waller. She passed her timed test with flying colors. Anyone interested in the DSWA craftsman certification scheme […]

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Kentucky Testing

After the DSC workshops and competition were concluded, nineteen certification tests took place on the grounds of Shaker Village. The miles of dry stone fence provided the perfect venue for the tasks required in the three-level testing scheme. Examples of the DSC “Basic” test include a wall head by Mario and a timed-build by Lisa. […]

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Dry Stone Competition

The generator was humming and flood-lights were blazing before dawn. Competitors signed in early to pick a favorable stint. Soon, twenty-nine men and one woman would tear down 175’ of dry stone fence and begin a day of high energy activity. The seventh annual Dry Stone Conservancy walling competition was about to begin.   Last […]

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Dry Stone Conservancy Workshop

After three weeks on the road through six states we arrived at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village in Kentucky for a week of workshops, tests and competition with the Dry Stone Conservancy. Neil Rippingale, DSC Training Program Manager, and I instructed two days of workshops with seven drystone professionals and hobbyists.  On the first day they […]

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An Old Friend Revisited

Having gone to college in NYC I have fond memories of walking and bicycling across the Brooklyn Bridge. A smaller version of that famous suspension bridge was designed by the same engineer for crossing the Ohio River at Cincinnatti.  The John A. Roebling Bridge, named for its creator, was built in 1867.  The Brooklyn Bridge, […]

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DSC Reception and Booksigning

This week finds me in the Lexington, Kentucky area at the invitation of the Dry Stone Conservancy, to be a competition judge, a workshop instructor and a lecturer.I will be presenting a slide talk this coming Friday, 10/15 at 7 pm, at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, in conjunction with the Dry Stone Conservancy competition on Saturday […]

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Accidental Architecture

The University of Cincinnati’s campus master-plan includes shaped-earth mounds that are matted in thick ground-cover. What was intended to be the designer’s statement of form and color has become an expression of children’s kinetic energy.  Safety is always on the minds of today’s architects of public spaces.  A park setting that satisfies all the modern […]

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The Work of Walling is to Prepare for the Next Moment

After four days of working together building walls, the six participants in the Elkhart workshop stood for their individual DSWA Level One tests. All successfully achieved passing marks. Congratulations to Merv, Kenson, Chris, Simeon, Gerald and Adam. It takes a leap of confidence to move from making a collaborative contribution to erecting your own piece […]

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Words on Walling

On the second day of the Hope Builders Group dry stone workshop in Elkhart County, Indiana, two participants had these words to say about walling.“It’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture.”Gerald Hochstetler“You’ve got all the pieces but you don’t know what the whole thing’s going to look like until it’s finished”Chris Warkentin

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Stone Trust Workshop

Thought I’d pass along this opportunity to take a workshop with Michael Weitzner and Jared Flynn. Please contact Jared Flynn at jared.flynn@drystonevt.org, or 802.254.2432 with any questions. The Stone Trust, a newly-formed nonprofit in southern Vermont, is proud to announce its upcoming two-day Dry Stone Wall Training Course in Dummerston, Vermont. Rain or shine on Saturday and […]

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Boulder Fence

A special one-day workshop was offered to the general public by my hosts this week, Hope Builders Group of Elkhart, Indiana. Two masonry contractor companies and a landscape designer attended the boulder wall instruction day. It was fun to get acquainted with local professionals in the trades and help them get acquainted with an unaccustomed […]

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Effigy Mounds

Situated along a high bluff overlooking the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers are a series of hand-made earthen mounds. The shapes could easily be mistaken for natural land forms, but they are the creation of long-ago residents of the region. Between 3,400 and 700 years ago Native Americans made the mounds to bury […]

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Taliesin East

While traveling in Wisconsin I visited Taliesin, the home, studio and school of Frank Lloyd Wright. America’s most famous 20th century architect built, and rebuilt multiple times, a complex of buildings in a valley his immigrant grandparents had settled in the early 19th century.The estate remains in private hands and can only be viewed by […]

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Wisconsin Foundation Workshop

Last Friday morning, sod was scraped off an area in an alfalfa field in DeForest, batter frames were erected and guide lines strung. The site for my two-day Wisconsin workshop was ready for action. Stone salvaged from an old barn foundation was distributed around the footing for the walls that would soon rise to become […]

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Chuck Eblacker

Last weekend while in New York state giving a presentation for the North American Rock Gardener’s Society I called in on Chuck Eblacker. Chuck is an outstanding craftsman building dry stone constructions in his home town of Rochester. Although he doesn’t consider himself an artist, his work is being featured on the Rochester Arts page […]

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North American Rock Gardeners

My recent presentation to forty members and guests of the North American Rock Gardener’s society at Cornell University was on the theme of “Nature as seen through the eyes of Art”. Basic, three- dimensional forms can be identified as expressions of nature. From the spheroid shape of the full moon overhead to the cylindrical voids […]

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Virginia Dormire

Below is an excerpt from a recent speech given for the dedication of “Virginia Dormire,” the dry stone sculpture I constructed on a Southern Connecticut property in 2009.I’ve been asked to talk about sculpture’s place in the history of art, and dry stone’s place in art making, today.  Anyone who has taken an art history […]

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A Place for Change

Sunday, September 12th I traveled to the opening reception at the Andres Institute of Art for the 12th Annual Bridges and Connections Symposium. The public was invited to meet the artists at Brookline Town Hall, in Brookline, NH. The artists for this year’s symposium are: Gerard Motondi – Kisii, Kenya, Susan Abraham – New York, […]

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Q and A – Walling at 1150 Meters in Japan

Thanks to Rick Lloyd for a recent inquiry from another corner of the world:Q: “…Once again I am making enquiries about crushed stone bases.  I’ve just run a drystone walling weekend here, the first ever in Japan.  The whole thing was a great success, in that I managed to get people to understand the science […]

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The Art of Fire

A chill in the air makes for a perfect reason to light an outside fire. Thanks to The Gardener’s Eden for the mention.

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sourcing local stone

Remembering Newfoundland

After three days of travel, including an 11 hour, overnight ferry ride, I’m back in Vermont. The trees here look like giants compared to the wind beaten spruce along Newfoundland’s coast.  VT’s rolling hills are beautiful but I admit feeling a little deprived to no longer be seeing a vast seascape out my window. From […]

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Bow Stone

Why move a stone just to find it doesn’t fit?  A stone weighing 200 lbs was identified as a possible bow-piece candidate for the “Lithoskiff.”  Only trouble was, it was located 1/2 mile from the building site alongside a hiking trail. No problem. The group went to the stone and made a cardboard replica that […]

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A Story – At The Crossing

A story told by Doug of English Harbour, NewfoundlandOn this side of the crossing is Penny Pond and over there is Ivaney Pond.  It’s the same water, only, cut across by the road makes it two ponds.  The stages and flakes were still here when we were kids.  They were all along the harbor edge […]

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Stone Art in English Harbour

The final day of the second English Harbour Arts Centre (EHAC) stone art workshop saw the crowning of the group’s creations. A spiral wall that Geoff, Rosalind, Helen and Dugal began on Thursday finished off on Friday with a ribbon of coping.  “Lithoskiff”, the piece Noel, Peter, Neil, Tom, Dugal and Paul began building on […]

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A Hunting Story

A hunting story told me by Ches, a native Newfoundlander: I’ve been hunting since I was a boy but didn’t start moose hunting until I was twelve.  I’ve got a lot of moose, lot of moose.  It’s easy to get cocky about it.  Once Doug and I were hunting moose.  He shot one, it was […]

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The Salvation of Humankind

Thought I’d share my replies to some questions that recently came my way from a graduate student doing research for an internship and paper in historic preservation.Q: What attracted you to the dry stone masonry trade and how long have you been in this field?A: I’ve been a full-time professional dry stone waller for 35 […]

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A Cod Fishing Story

A story told me by Doug, a native NewfoundlanderMy brother, Ches, and I were out cod fishing one day.  Lucky was in the boat with us as usual.  She’s good about being around fish but when whales come around she starts barking at them.  She doesn’t like the whales coming too close.  So, this time […]

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Intangible Heritage

Many thanks to Dale Jarvis for the interview and for the mention in his Intangible Cultural Heritage blog. Thanks also to Dave and Sue for hosting the event at their lovely cafe, Two Whales.Please check back for an audio clip of the interview on Dale’s blog.

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The 2010 EHAC Dry Stone Art Workshops

The 2010 EHAC Dry Stone Art Workshops are coming to a close. Jack Stanley has, once again, brought together the people and resources needed to make our time working together and playing here a very gratifying experience. Just this week the group has restored the collapsed corner of an old retaining wall, designed and built […]

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English Harbour’s Fearless Adventurers

The process of creating a work of art in the landscape involves a lot of physical activity, to be sure, but no less crucial to its conception is a continual winnowing of “knowns” and “unknowns.” At first, the “unknowns” are many. It might be daunting if it wasn’t equally exciting. Questions are stimulating, and answers […]

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Dan Snow & Dale Jarvis In Conversation

In the Trinity Bight area this week? Dan Snow and Dale Jarvis In ConversationDry Stone Wall Building And It’s Place In Newfoundland’s HeritageTwo Whales Coffee ShopPort Rexton, Newfoundland, CanadaWednesday, August 18th at 7pm Dan and provincial folklorist Dale Jarvis will chat at the Two Whales Coffee Shop in Port Rexton about the tradition and the art of stonework, and […]

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CBC Interview

Angela Antle, Producer/Host, Weekend Arts Magazine for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, interviewed Dan last week about the workshops at the English Harbour Arts Centre. Here is the podcast, and here is Angela Antle’s CBC WAM webpage.

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Spruce and Stone Assemblage

The first of two, dry stone art workshops in English Harbour, Newfoundland has come to a close.  After four days of working on a hill overlooking Trinity Bay the group completed a four-walled piece that included an assemblage of stone and spruce logs rising from its center.  Stone and spruce are elemental in the Newfoundland […]

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Loons, Stones and Whales

As the workshop’s dry stone form emerges on the hillside, the mewing of loons floats up from the bay. Our ears prick up at the sound of a humpback whale blowing a mighty exhale far out on the water. Our contribution to the day is the rhythmic click and clatter of stone meeting stone.

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Stones Rising in English Harbour

Seven workshop participants began designing and setting up guide frames for an environmental art piece in English Harbor yesterday. The work will consist of a “squarish” enclosure with perforated walls. Inside, a columnar form supported by a web-work of spruce logs will rise from the ground.

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Q&A – walling as a profession

Another question that came my way recently.Q: “…I have admired your stonework for long time. In 2002 immediately after graduating from college, I worked with my brother on a Tuscan agrotourismo where I did a few weekends of work on some old retaining walls with an old, one-legged Italian dry stone mason. During this time […]

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Q&A – Footings

It is always fun and interesting to hear from wallers from across the world – thought I’d share this question that recently came from a waller in Japan.Q:  “I am a member of the DSWA, trained and qualified with the South Wales branch in the UK but currently living and working in Japan, where I […]

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Mystery of the Bow in the Wall

A long-time customer called to ask if I’d take a look at a dry stone wall I’d built for him many years ago.  He was concerned that a woodchuck had taken up residence nearby and that its excavations had undermined the wall.  Upon inspection, I could see that the critter’s digging hadn’t compromised the structure, […]

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Tucker Reed Road Bridge

Can there be a more useful application of dry stone construction than the building of a bridge?  In the practical matters of getting around town every day, a bridge can be indispensable. Bridges also hold symbolic value. They express connectivity, freedom of movement, and trust.  We trust that bridges will keep us safe while in […]

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A Terraced Garden Emerges

Primary construction on the Barn Foundation Terraced Garden has been completed.  Flat work for paths, and vertical edging for raised beds will be done in September.  For now, the clients can wander around on the rough grading and imagine how the planting scheme they’ve designed will look in real space.

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Seeing Stars

I thought I was having an HHH (high humidity hallucination).  A stone was swung into place in the base of the bridge abutment Jared Flynn and I are building for the town of Dummerston and I saw stars.  And not only stars.  The closer I looked at the surface of the boulder, and cleared away […]

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English Harbour Arts Centre Workshops

Finalizing details and preparations for two August workshops in beautiful English Harbour, Newfoundland. Sponsored by the English Harbour Arts Centre, the only workshop known to stop work to watch whales swimming in the harbor. Magical! Follow the Arts Centre on Facebook. Thanks to Jack Stanley and the wonderful board of the EHAC for making this […]

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A Good Question About Craftsman Certification Testing

Brian Post works on a seven hour, timed test piece, May 31, 2010. A good question came to me recently about Craftsman Certification testing.Matthew wrote: I was at the  Dry Stone Conservancy’s testing two years ago.  I want to return some time in the next two years to attempt certification again.  I passed the retaining […]

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Stone Work in Vermont

Really nice write up and photo spread by Julie Moir Messervy for the lastest Vermont Magazine. It opened my eyes to the breadth of stonework being done in our fair state.

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Barn Foundation Terraced Garden

The project I am currently working on is a series of retaining walls for a terraced garden.  Much of the material being used was once the foundation of a barn located on site.  Some of the old walls remain, and have been incorporated into the garden design.  Additional materials include cobbles and boulders from a […]

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Art in the Margins

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about land/environmental art, and how it could be a positive force in our world.  I’ve written a short outline to propose a possibility.  What do you think it would take to make it happen? Art in the Margins: A program for the creation of visual art on marginal Vermont […]

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The Art and Craft of Working with Stone

Interested in learning more about the art and craft of working with stone in the landscape, in a beautiful Vermont setting, in the wonderful month of July? You can learn more here. Photographs of Dan’s work above by Peter Mauss.

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A Mighty Thunderstorm

A mighty thunderstorm raced down the West River valley recently. Unrelenting bolts of lightning lit up the night sky for nearly an hour. Winds of 85 mph bowled over huge trees, causing much damage to a neighbor’s property. A dry stone project I did there years ago was mangled by a white pine crashing down […]

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Stone Paths

Stone paths make connections in the garden, and between garden makers, as well. Thanks to Gardener’s Eden for the photo and the mention!

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A Magic Carpet Among the River Ruins

Three days after I finished up the stone work on the “Ruin” project and left the site roughly graded, the property owners rented a U-Haul truck, loaded it with freshly cut sod, and headed home to have a Memorial Day sod laying party. The result is striking. The ground within the walls of the old […]

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Restoring 1,500 feet of stone wall along the old Albany NY post road

Preservation work is being carried out at The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY this summer. Among the projects is a youth training program. Twelve young people, along with a supervisor from Groundwork USA, travel from Yonkers, NY each weekday. Kentucky’s Dry Stone Conservancy runs the program. The goal […]

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DSWA Test Days

Monday was test day in Dummerston, Vermont for four candidates in the DSWA Craftsman Certification Scheme. Torbin Larsen , Mike Lapine and Joshua Barwick went for Level 1. Brian Post took his Level 2. Joshua’s stint was “timed out,” and therefore did not receive passing marks. All others were successful in achieving their goal. Holders […]

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Derelict Wall Rebuilt

Scott Farm Walling WorkshopThis past weekend a great group of fine folks came together to pull apart a derilect stone wall and rebuild it, anew. There was an understandable note of panic on the faces of the novice wallers when they saw the depth of the footing hole, and height of the stone mounds, they’d […]

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Wall Building Workshop at Scott Farm

This coming weekend will be the second walling workshop that has taken place at Dummerston’s historic Scott Farm. If you’re familiar with the setting from the movie “Cider House Rules”; that is Scott Farm. The location couldn’t be nicer and the weather forcast is for sunny skies. I’m continually impressed by the strong desire to […]

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Save the Dry Stone Causeway

Dry Stone Causeway In my town a section of back road is scheduled to get an upgrade. A tight bend will be eliminated where the road now crosses a stream. The plan is to move the gravel roadway downstream and install a cement “box” culvert, thereby reducing the curve and widening the road bed. The […]

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A Week in Paradise

This has been a week in paradise. Not that I haven’t been getting grubby hugging stones, it’s just that the walling has been getting done in a perfectly idyllic setting under sunny skies. The ruin is perched above a waterfall on Cold River. The sound of rushing water fills the air. I’m reinvigorating the site […]

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Parmelee Farm Stone Wall Workshop

Looking forward to the workshop this weekend 5/15-16 at Parmelee Farm in Connecticut. Let’s hope for some sunshine!Parmelee Farm465 Rte. 81Killingworth, CTLook for Dry Stone Workshop sign at the entrance to the farm on Rte 81.This is a rain or shine event. Please come prepared for rugged work.Pre-registered participants should bring:Water and water bottleHot drink […]

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Slate Wall

This week I’m pitching in on the rebuilding of a slate retaining wall here in Dummerston, Vermont. It’s the third time a wall has been put up at this site, the first time by none other than Rudyard Kipling. The Nobel Prize winning author built his Dummerston home in 1892. Subsequent owners of Naulakha expanded […]

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Salem Wall Request

Any DSWA or DSC certificated wallers out there interested in working on a historic wall? This inquiry recently came to me, it’s not something I’m able to take on at this time but I told the homeowner I’d pass along the request. Here it is.“I am looking for someone to dismantle and reassemble a cemetery […]

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River Ruins

Today I take the first steps toward what I hope will be a ruinous end. No, I’m not suicidal. The statement is just a set-up for discussing a project I’ve begun. A customer in Southwestern New Hampshire has asked me to explore the spacial possibilities of an old mill site on their property. Situated on […]

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Q&A – Retaining Wall

Thought I’d share my answer to a recent query. Q: I live in Connecticut and we have no shortage of stone to work with. I am starting to build a retaining wall that will be about 54″ tall, I have a good base and have a couple of questions that maybe if you have time […]

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Transformer Towers Transformed

Sandy beaches draw summertime visitors to explore Langeland, but for most of the year farm tractors rule the roads. Last month, the manure spreaders were out in force as I traveled around the Danish island seeking out some rather distinctive landmarks. The 31-mile long Langeland is well know for its windmills, both historic grain mills […]

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Skovsgaard Split Boulder Wall

The best parts of travel are often the unplanned stops along the way. While seeking out the location of an “art tower,” one of a dozen, abandoned, electrical transformer buildings being used as part of a unique arts project in Denmark (to be featured in a future blog post) I came across an example of […]

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Alfio Bonanno and TICKON

Alfio Bonanno has had a full life in the arts, as an art maker and teacher, but he’s not done yet, far from it. Now in his 60’s, the Italian born, Australian raised, Danish citizen has his sights set on his most ambitious project to date; the creation of an arts center on the island […]

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A Stone Clothes Press

Here’s an interesting use of a pile of rocks: it’s a clothes press. The Funen Village in Odense, Denmark is an open-air museum of authentically reconstructed farm buildings, homes and their furnishings. I took a walk around the grounds where old-style agriculture is being practiced by museum staff, and stepped across the thresholds of rooms […]

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Ash Cloud Travels

After a 27-hour day of driving, airport dashing and flying I’m grateful to be back in Vermont. Elin and I feel like we slipped through the eye of the Ash Cloud needle, so to speak. We lucked out at both ends of our scheduled travel to Scandinavia, having arrived days before airports were closed, and […]

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The Largest Boulder in Denmark

I’ve been traveling in Denmark this past week, visiting family, an environmental artist, contemporary art and ancient artifacts. Starting with the oldest, yesterday I came to the largest boulder in Denmark, an erratic deposited on the land at the end of the last ice age. The monolith rests serenely in the midst of green, rolling […]

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Stone Wall On The Rise

New technological innovations are increasingly pulling us away from having direct experience with the natural world so its good to know that you can still get your hands dirty in Dummerston, VT. A two-day workshop, May 29-30, building a dry stone wall at the historic Scott Farm will not only connect participants with the land […]

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Bush Hog Love

Introducing the new love of my life; a Bush Hog mower deck welded to a quick-hitch coupler. Now I can range around the Croggery on my front-end loader tearing into briar and bramble patches without my face and hands getting inscribed with bloody hieroglyphics the way they often do from a brush-cutting session with the […]

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Garden Art – an Interview

Garden designer, Phyllis Odessey recently wrote an article based on an interview with me for the website Gardens and People.  Check it out, plus lots of other interesting garden related topics. Click on the article link titled “Dry Stone Walling”.

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Striding Arches

I’t’s refreshing to discover a community arts project that has satisfied it’s aims. Last year at this time I was in south-west Scotland where I visited Cairnhead Community Forest. There, a number of artist installations are the focus of an effort to bring the public into the landscape by the Forestry commission Scotland. “Striding Arches” […]

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Learn how to build a dry-laid stone wall

Stone Wall Building Workshop Parmelee Farm, 465 Rte. 81, Killingworth, CT Contact: Michelle Becker at 860-322-0060 or by e-mail at: mb@mbeckerco.com May 15-16, 2010 9 am – 4 pm Tuition: $300 Contact Michelle Becker @ 860-322-0060 or mb@mbeckerco.com Workshop announcement from Michelle: In what will be the second in a series of educational workshops that promote the arts, cultural heritage […]

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Italian Underground

I’m still basking in the reflective light of my recent trip to Italy. Writing one more post about the Etruscans will help keep the glow lit a little longer. Besides, maple sugaring hasn’t been anything to write home about. Unusually warm days, and nighttime temperatures above freezing, has meant zero sap flow. Maybe this week […]

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Some Upcoming Workshops

Many of you have written asking about upcoming workshops – please see below for my current workshop schedule. Please contact the sponsors listed below to register. Hope you can join us! CONNECTICUTParmelee Farms, KillingworthMay 15-16Contact info:Michelle BeckerP: 860-322-0060mb@mbeckerco.com VERMONTScott FarmMay 29-30Contact info:Kelly CarlinP: 802.254.6868kellyc@landmarktrustusa.org. VERMONTJulie Moir Messervy Design Studio WorkshopSaxtons RiverJuly 22 – 25Contact info:P: […]

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Sliding Into Spring

This week I’ve been in our sugarbush hanging sap buckets, 215 so far. That may be as many as I put out this season. Our Windham County, Vermont property is typical of the region; rugged and steep. Covered in wet snow, as it is now, it’s especially slippery. There are always more maples I could […]

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Etruscan Ruins

Defining an ancient civilization by the way it buried its dead is like summing up an individual’s life by describing the way he or she died. Its not a very comprehensive story. But in the case of the Etruscans we can make a good guess about the way they lived because they sent their dead […]

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Successful DSWA Test Day in Hinesburg, VT

Two days of dry stone activities recently took place in balmy Hinesburg, Vermont. While it was snowing outside, inside the greenhouse conditions couldn’t have been finer. Seven professional wallers got together on Friday to exchange ideas on guide frame techniques. On Saturday, DSWA certification scheme tests were conducted by me and Michael Weitzner. We examined […]

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The Mystery of Etruria

Odd as it may be, my looking forward to a project usually starts with looking back. In the case of my going to Italy next week to begin conversations with a new client, I find myself looking way back. And there the questions arise. How can it be that a civilisation that lasted one thousand […]

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Reflections on the Roof

Brancussi, Noguchi and Nevelson are names synonymous with Modern sculpture. Contemporary figures include Serra, Bourgeois and Goldsworthy. Some of their best works are represented at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. On a recent visit there I had the chance to examine and compare many fine pieces. Some were old favorites while others […]

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Gadgets and Grindstones

I’ve always been an admirer of gadgets. A hand-pump that sucks the air out of an uncorked bottle of wine to reseal it for pouring another day is a cool gadget in my estimation. Another recent acquisition that qualifies as an awesome gadget is my new iPhone. While traveling through New Jersey not long ago […]

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Anticipating a Trip

The next best thing to travel is the anticipation of a trip. Next month I’m off to Italy for work, and for me that’s an even more exciting prospect than if I were going there on vacation. The land and light that inspired the art of the Renaissance shines on. I intend to steep myself […]

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Archer’s Pavilion – Part 3

Even though the Archers Pavilion was made to look like a tent it was never intended to be a shelter. Rain would be allowed to pass straight through the joints between its roof stones. I approached the project as a sculpture, that is, a non-functional object. All the same, it was imperative it should be […]

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Archer’s Pavilion – Part 2

Sean Adcock has been showing “Stone Rising” to groups of stone enthusiasts in the UK. He tells me that of all the work featured in the video, Archer Pavilion elicits the strongest reaction. I’ve been reading “Stones of Rimini” by Adrian Stokes. He writes, “Poets possess the insight with which to re-create subjectively the unconscious […]

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Archer’s Pavilion

Sean Adcock, editor of Stonechat, the newsletter of the DSWA North Wales branch, has asked me to write something about the Archer’s Pavilion for an upcoming issue; its inspiration, technical bits, how I approached it, and what if anything I’d do differently. Here are my first thoughts on the subject, with more to come in […]

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Reader Reviews

As an author I’m naturally curious about what readers think of my books.  From time to time I check into Amazon to read reviews.  With thanks to the reviewers, here are some excerpts. In The Company of Stone By Lizabelle – I found this book in the library looking for instruction, and I wasn’t interested in another book […]

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A Detour and a Highline

Peter Mauss taking a photo of Knut Wold’s sculpture along the Sognefjellveien, Norway Detour: Architecture and Design Along 18 Nation Tourist Routes in Norway is the title of the exhibition and symposium I attended recently in New York City. My interest came out of a road trip taken back in 2007 where I happened on […]

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Pulling Together

Dry stone workshop instruction has taken me to new places, given me a chance to experiment with a variety of stone types and introduced me to lots of interesting people. Stone is the common denominator for getting us together in a workshop but it becomes less and less the focus of our day as we […]

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A Gardener’s Eden and the Barnes and Noble Book Club Blog

Thanks to the Gardener’s Eden for the review of Listening to Stone and In the Company of Stone in the Barnes and Noble Book Club blog.Check out the Gardener’s Eden – an online gardening journal overflowing with beautifully written and illustrated insights into the art and joy of daily living.  Created by an artist, friend, garden […]

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Two Memorials

As a commissioned art maker working with existing spaces I rely on partnership with a client to produce a work.  Since most of my projects are in the Northeast USA where snow and hard frost restrict my production to the three frost-free seasons I’m left to my own devices in the winter months.  Last winter I made scale models […]

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Reflections 2009

Perhaps winter is a time of reflection because the ground is covered in reflective white. The earth and its stone is under a thick blanket of snow these days. The land is saying, “Let me rest.” While I can’t help think some about what’s coming up in the months ahead, at this time of the year I do try […]

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Beauty Girl

Andrew an I finished construction on the dry stone sculpture “Beauty Girl” recently. Not a moment too soon.  Winter temps and wind chills descended on the work site yesterday. The landscaping around the piece may be delayed until more suitable conditions reappear.  Until then, here are some snapshots of the piece in its final, if not fully comfortable, resting place.

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More on Beauty Girl

Work on “Beauty Girl” continued this week. With the able assistance of DSWA Advance certificate holder Andrew Pighills, the second third of the sculpture took shape. After the guide frame was rolled forward and the “plumbas” rehung, fieldstone was set vertically to describe the robes that blanket the figure in criss-cross patterns. In the first […]

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Beauty Girl

My current project, “Beauty Girl”, is a dry stone sculpture of a reclining female figure.  It’s being constructed on the grounds of a residence in Connecticut.Measurements from my 1/12th scale, clay model were transferred to a movable guide frame.  Weights on lines determine the points that define the form. Vertically-set fieldstone is fashioned into the […]

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Two Moongates

The moongate has traditionally been employed in garden and landscape settings as a symbolic threshold between worlds. Mike Panos of Maywood, NJ recently sent me a photo of a moongate he constructed on his property. It was built with 7.5 tons of Pennsylvania Endless Mountain fieldstone. In Rochester, NY Chuck Eblacker recently showed me a […]

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Worksite Safety

There aren’t that many components in the creation of a dry stone wall. There are the stones and the land, of course. And the basic building principals that, when applied, add up to a strong and enduring structure. Once those elements are thoroughly understood and consistently brought together, what refinements can an experienced waller bring […]

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Still Mountain Center

I will be traveling to the Litchfield Hills area of Connecticut this coming weekend to present a program entitled “Evolving as an art maker through the medium of dry stone”. The event is sponsored by the Still Mountain Center at their Annual Celebration Dinner in support of the arts. Reception, dinner and program will be […]

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Parmelee Farm Stone Wall Workshop

Thanks to organizers Michelle Becker and Andrew Pighills for inviting me to join them at the Parmelee Farm in Killingworth, CT for a 2-day stone wall workshop. Participants worked together to restore a section of wall.  Pictured above are Andrew and Michelle; a “before view” of a section of wall; the finished wall; along with […]

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Parmelee Farm Stone Wall Workshop

Heading to the Parmelee Farm in Killingworth , CT this weekend.  Andrew Pighills and I will be instructing a workshop on the art of dry stone wall building. Please contact Michelle Becker at 860-322-0060 or mb@beckerco.com for more information.

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Scott Farm Stone Wall Workshop

Folks traveled to Dummerston from all around the Northeast and as far away as Kentucky and New Brunswick, Canada for two days of dry stone walling. Heavy rains (4″!) didn’t dampen the spirits of our intrepid group on Saturday. A dozen workshop participants made good headway despite the mud. By Sunday morning the sun came […]

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GRAI Scott Farm Stone Workshop 10/24-25

Fifteen people are registered for the upcoming two day, hands-on workshop. The setting is along-side a quiet road overlooking the orchards of Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT. A one-hundred year old wall in derelict condition will be examined for its structural qualities, dismantled and rebuilt. Participants will be given one-on-one instruction by Dan Snow and […]

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DSWA Certification Scheme Testing

For many dry stone enthusiasts in the Northeast, projects are winding down and tools are being put away for the winter. The finale for the season for some is DSWA Certification Scheme testing. Over the past two weekends I’ve examined applicants taking Level 1, 2 and 3 tests. Pictured is Curtis Gray, with me and […]

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The Dry Stone Walling Festival in Grand Valley

The dry stone walling festival in Grand Valley, Ontario that took place over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend was well attended by walling enthusiasts from far and wide. Thirty fearless folk braved wind and cold to participate in the workshops. Eric Landman, DeanMcLellan and their families did a fabulous job of bringing it all together for […]

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Stone Hang Dogs

My discovery of some unusual limestone formations in the countryside around Manhattan, Kansas inspired the idea of using a dry stone construction to feature a pair of naturally perforated, odd shaped rocks. Suspended in the narrow slots between wall sections of the sculpture are two “hang dogs.” I found them in a dry creek bed on […]

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Kansas Sculpture

My K-State artist residency is coming to a close. A huge thank you to Professor Katie Kingery-Page for putting the pieces together to make it all happen. And to Katie’s husband Lindsay Smith, Beach Art Museum Exhibitions Designer, my grateful appreciation for keeping us supplied with tools and equipment. Pictured above, Professor Lorn Clement, Emily […]

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Kansas Sculpture

The two east wall sections begin to take shape. An open house at the Beach Museum, today, Sunday October 4th 1 – 3 pm, will feature a display of the architecture student’s designs of dry-laid stone sculptures. The students – Russell Ploutz, Kirby Barett, Jon Ryan, Emily King, Laura Weatherholt, Alli Gerth, Lee Adams, Ben […]

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Lee Bryant Memorial Lecture – Limits = Potential

I was honored to be the 23rd presenter of the annual College of Architecture, Planning and Design’s Lee A Bryant Memorial Lecture Series. The lecture series is a living tribute to Bryant’s passion for art and the vital interaction of art and architecture.   Thanks to the excellent and thorough preparations made by museum staff […]

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Kansas – Landscape and Art

The west wall portion of the sculpture has been brought up through the foundation course with doubling and through-stones. Yesterday the second lift was finished and the coping started. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the students from Prof. Katie Kingery-Page’s studio class – Landscape and Art. Students have participated in […]

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Kansas Scholar’s Stone

After a morning with K-State students I took a drive southeast to Alma, KS with Andy Badeker to search for a “Scholar’s Stone” in the Flint Hills.  The erosion pock-marked boulder will be a focal point in the sculpture at the Beach Art Museum. While in Alma I was shown two unusual examples of stone masonry.  The corn silage […]

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Kansas Sculpture Preparations

Ground was broken on Monday outside the Beach Museum.  Twelve students dug the footing hole and prepared a crushed stone base for the sculpture. They made “half-products” in the stone staging area by hammer-trimming rough quarry materials into ready-to-lay stone.

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Kansas Sculpture Design

K-State students outlining the footprint of the sculpture with butcher paper. I am in Manhattan, Kansas for two weeks for an arts residency with landscape architecture students from Kansas State University. You can read more about it here.

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KANSAS Sculpture

Twelve tons of quarried limestone was delivered to the sculpture site at KSU today.  No turning back now. The students, in their fourth year of landscape architecture studies, presented their site analyses and design proposals for review by me and professor Katie Kingery-Page. 

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Dry Stone Walling Workshop – Parmalee Farm, CT

On Saturday and Sunday Oct 31 – Nov 1, Andrew Pighills and I will lead a workshop on the art of dry stone wall building at the Parmalee Farm in Killingworth, CT. The Parmalee Farm is a 19th Century farmstead, owned by the town of Killingworth, that is being restored to serve as an agricultural, […]

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Canadian Dry Stone Walling Festival

The Canadian Dry Stone Wall Festival will be held this year in Grand Valley, Ontario Oct 9 – 12 at the Landman Farms. The festival will include stone wall workshops for adults and children, a walling competition,  and the construction of a traditional Drystone Blackhouse.  Click here for more information.

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Kansas!

This week I’ll be going to Manhattan, Kansas to work with K-State landscape architecture students to create a dry stone sculpture on the grounds of the Beach Museum of Art. The finished work will be open to the public Oct. 4 during the “Stone Rising” open house. As part of my Residency, I will also […]

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The 2009 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO

The 2009 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO(http://www.asla.org/2009meeting) is September 18-21, in Chicago. I will be on a panel with photographers Chun Lia (chunlaiphotography.com) and Peter Mauss (esto.com) along with University of Texas Dean of Architecture, Fritz Steiner(http://soa.utexas.edu/people/profile/steiner) presenting on “Photography: The Key to Getting your Project Published.” Our talk and slide presentation will take place […]

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Photography: The Key to Getting Your Project Published

I’m heading to Chicago this weekend for the ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Annual Meeting and Expo. I’ll be joining Peter Mauss and Chun Lai for a presentation titled “Photography: The Key to Getting Your Project Published” on Friday Sept 18th at 1:30 pm. Here’s the program information: Fri-C8 Photography: The Key to Getting Your […]

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The Harley School Wall

A section of wall complete Pictured below – Chuck setting coverbands This week at Harley, the high school students attended presentations given by Chuck Eblacker and me on dry stone, it’s history and contemporary applications. Next week in “Real-Work Studies” they begin building a wall of their own.

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The Harley School Wall

Sunny, cool, early fall – great walling weather in the company of the lovely staff, students and board members of the Harley School in Rochester, NY.

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Harley School in Rochester NY

Artist in residence this week at the Harley School in Rochester, NY. Check out this story and video in YNN News.“Students returning to The Harley School will see some new construction outside their building and they will play a large role in the finished product. Students will help some renowned craftsmen build a dry stone […]

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October Dry Stone Walling Workshop 10/24-25

The setting for this two day, hands-on workshop is along-side a quiet road overlooking the orchards of Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT. A one-hundred year old wall in derelict condition will be examined for its structural qualities, dismantled and rebuilt.Participants will be given one-on-one instruction by Dan Snow and another DSWA certificated craftsman. Contact Great […]

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Round Pound – Maine

While traveling through Maine recently I visited a town pound in Orrington.  It is the first round pound (33′ inside diameter) I’ve come across in the USA.  It’s a mortared construction. The thick, high walls and heavy iron gate would surely hold in the most uncooperative of cattle.

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The Dummerston Town Livestock Pound is Complete!

Over a period of ten months, with three weekend workshops and three practice days, the Dummerston Town Pound became a reality.  Forty-four volunteers traveled from near and far to be part of the re-creation and to hone their dry stone walling skills. Pictured above is Jared Flynn and “Pippy.”   Jared is instructing a walling workshop in Dummerston September […]

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Book Talk and Signing – Listening to Stone

Dan will be speaking and signing books at the Champlain Valley Fair this Sunday 8/30 at 2 pm in the Ware Building. Hope to see you there. Details below. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture is bringing a Taste of Vermont back to the Champlain Valley Fair!     From August 29th to September 7th the Ware […]

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Farewell and Thanks to English Harbour Newfoundland

Many thanks to all who made my stay at English Harbour a delight. I enjoyed getting to know staff, volunteers and workshop participants, alike. EHAC Founders and Executive Committee: Kim Paddon, Dave Paddon, Cynthia Kemerer, Peter Kemerer, Deb Wickwire, Jim Wickwire, and Ray Fowlow. Manager -Jack Stanley. Stone wranglers – Martin Hiscock, Lucas Walters, Richard […]

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Fish Net Environmental Art Piece

A moral dilemma presents itself when one engages in an environmental art enterprise in a natural setting. Often the beauty of the site is the initial attraction, and inspiration for making a piece. As a three-dimensional artist working with natural materials the question arises: is it right to make changes to the setting as it’s […]

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English Harbour Arts Centre

Day 2 of the EHAC workshop – Building with Dry Stone: Utility and Artistry Rainy skies did not deter the hard-working group from making great progress on the walls today.

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Newfoundland – English Harbour Arts Centre

Day 1 of the workshop. Site preparation, stone collecting and design – under sunny blue skies. English Harbour is a beautiful location for a workshop – and the only workshop where participants might pause to watch the whales frolick in the harbour. Pictured above are the workshop particpants – gathered inside the Arts Centre for […]

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An Artist’s Evolution

An Artist’s Evolution I’ve been asked to make a presentation about my work to an art group in western Connecticut next November. The subject to be addressed is – an artist’s evolution; how I came to be in the field I’m in, as well as what my work is now. My stock answer to the […]

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Mallory’s Wall

Completed Mallory’s wall last week.When progress was halted on this construction two years ago we didn’t know where the stone would come from to finish. Taking a close look at her property, the customer discovered a “stone dump”. A century earlier someone removed surface stone from a clearing and tossed it over a bank. Twenty […]

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Workshop in Newfoundland Aug 10 – 14

Building with Dry Stone—Utility and Artistry Adults August 10-14, 10:00 – 4:00 (with lunch break) Workshop fee: $400 (including materials and a signed copy of Listening to Stone) Registration Deadline: July 27 In this workshop with renowned artist and writer Dan Snow, participants will learn and practice time-honored dry stone walling skills, while feeling part […]

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Walling is Physical Work

A response to a recent question about working with and lifting stone. A 30 minute stretch routine first thing in the morning is the best “back-helper” I know of.Walling is physical work, so it tends to both build the body up and break it down at the same time. The hope is to stay on […]

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Stone Workshop July 5th

Sunny skies, slight breezes and perfect temperatures graced a great day of wall building. Dan is pictured above with participants Garet McIntyre, Matt Buzerak and Melanie Grubman. After a hard day’s work, the recreated livestock pound in Dummerston Center is one day closer to completion. The next workshop is in October. Contact Great River Arts […]

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Beauty Girl: a dry stone sculpture in progress

Pictured above, marble block in Rutland, VT quarry Pictured above, clay model, back view Pictured above, Princess Maya, (mother of Siddartha) an inspiration for Beauty Girl sculpture. Beauty Girl is a 34’ x 8’ x 5’ 6” dry stone construction to be installed on the grounds of a private residence in southern Connecticut late in […]

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Stone Wall Building Workshop July 5

A 1-day stone walling workshop will be held this Sunday the 5th in Dummerston Center from 9 am – 4 pm. Please contact Dan or Great River Arts Institute for details. Same day registration is possible, if you decide at the last minute to join us. The 1-day workshop fee is $150. Please bring:Personal stoneworking […]

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A sunny Saturday afternoon, friends and music on Rice mountain to benefit the Yellow Barn Music School – and an opportunity to play among the stones and explore the spectacular gardens.

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Newfoundland in August – Dry Stone Walling Workshop

The rugged coastline of Newfoundland will be the backdrop for a dry stone walling workshop August 10 – 14, 2009. Join us for a week long adventure in some of Canada’s finest stone country. English Harbour Arts Association will host the event on the grounds of the Fishers’ Loft Inn.Contact Jack Stanley at jstanley@bellnet.ca for […]

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Workshop and Testing July 5 – 6

The July workshop has been changed to a one-day workshop on Sunday July 5th. Please contact the Great River Arts Institute to register. On July 6th there will be a test day for candidates who are pre-registered with the DSWA. Please contact the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britian directly for questions about future […]

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Stone Workshop – Dummerston VT

Discounting the pesky black flies, weather and working conditions were ideal for the Dummerston town pound walling weekend. Sixteen participants under the direction of myself, Andrew Pighlls and Jared Flynn created forty foot of four foot high fence wall, a corner and a cheekend. The pound is now enclosed on nearly three sides. The gate […]

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Stone Workshop Dummerston VT May 9-10

This coming weekend, May 9-10, the 2nd – in a series of 4 workshops to recreate the Dummerston Town Pound – will be held in Dummerston Center, VT.Pre-registration required. Pray for sunny skies – we look forward to welcoming 12 pre-registered workshop participants this weekend.Please bring:WaterHot drink mug – we’ll have coffee and tea availableBag […]

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Scotland and England’s Lakes Region

Scotland and England’s Lakes Region – a wealth of stone, art and beautiful landscapes – and the opportunity to connect with Master Wallers from across the UK. After a stop in Glasgow to see some Mackintosh designs, and en route to Crooklands, we detoured to see The Striding Arches. On the way north again, finally […]

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DSWA Examiner Standardisation – Cumbria April 09

In preparing for an upcoming trip to the Lake District of England I’ve been reading about some of the famous figures of English literature who visited there or made the area their home. The rivers, lakes and mountains were essential ingredients of William Wordsworth’s poems. His affection for the natural world is fully evident in […]

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Stone Wall Workshop

Great River Arts Institute Dry Stone Walling Workshops May 9-10, July 4-5, or October 24-25, 2009 Two-day workshops limited to 20 participantsTuition: $300/per weekend, multiple workshop discount available Contact Great River Arts Institute to register. In October of 1796, Benjamin Alvord built a livestock pound for the town of Dummerston, Vermont. The size of the […]

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Dry Stone Walling Open House – Photos

The Dry Stone Walling Open House at the Windham Regional Career Center in Brattleboro, VT on 4 April 2009 was a great success. Please contact Jared Flynn (802-254-2432) for more information about the dry stone wall pilot program at the career center.

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Dry Stone Walling Open House

Dry Stone Walling Open House Windham Regional Career Center Brattleboro, VT 4 April 20096 – 9 pm Please contact Jared Flynn for more information 254-2432Or check the iBrattleboro events page.

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Spring in Vermont

A little bit of time in the sugar woods and sugar house – and away from designing, slide presentations and book signings – to welcome the Vermont spring in all its glory and sweetness.

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March Events

March Events – book talks and signings and slide presentations 3/14 – Boston, MA. Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, Hynes Convention CenterTalk and slide showAn Introduction to Building Dry Stone Walls1:30 – 2:30 pmVerify time and location on conference siteThe best natural stone walls rise up out of the land. Dry jointed stone that has […]

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Art and the Working Landscape: Shaping our Environment Today

Cultivated land is a handmade environment. Over the past two centuries, the rural face of Vermont has been shaped by farm life. While the stone walls built during that time have lost their stature as livestock fences, their presence has become a defining characteristic of the land. A dry laid stone wall, that has stood […]

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Seacoast Tour

The tour to the seacoast was a delight. My interview with “Word of Mouth” host Virginia Prescott at NHPR was fun and educational. I was very impressed by the timely orchestration required of her, the producer, and engineers, to pull off a successful segment of live-radio broadcast. Go to http://www.nhpr.org/wordofmouth to hear the interview. The […]

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NHPR Interview on Wednesday Feb 11th

Dan will be in Concord, NH for a live interview on the show Word of Mouth with host Virginia Prescott. Hope you get the chance to tune in to NHPR on Wed 2/11 at 12 noon. If you miss the show, and would like to hear the interview, go to the NHPR Word of Mouth […]

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February Book Events – Listening to Stone

February book events – escape the cold, brighten your day and join us for a reading and discussion. Wednesday Feb 11 at 7 pm River Run Books, 20 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH Thursday Feb 12 at 7 pm Longfellow Books, One Monument Way, Portland ME Saturday, February 14 at 1 pm Bethany Church, Main St. […]

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Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference – Boston, MA

Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA, March 12 – 14, 2009.   An Introduction to Building Dry Stone Walls, Sat March 14 at 1:30 pm SPEAKER: Dan Snow, Master craftsman, Dry Stone Waller and Environmental Artist,   * Learn to prepare a stonewall footing.  * Review the four guidelines for a […]

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Q & A – Testing and Workshops

Q.I was led to your site through an article in the PhiladelphiaInquirer, very interesting. I am interested in becoming DSWAcertified, 1st or 2nd level, and was wondering if you have anysuggestions for the Southeast PA area for testing or training. A.At this time the only DSWA test venue scheduled for 2009 in the USA isin […]

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Reading and Book Signing – Brandon, VT

We are pleased to announce that Dan will be reading from his new book, Listening to Stone, at the Briggs Carriage Bookstore on March 19 at 7 pm. Please contact Peter Marsh, Events Coordinator, Briggs Carriage Bookstore, 802-247-0050, for details and more information.

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Q & A Stone Wall Stile

From a recent email discussion. Q. I’m very interested in the history of the walls found here in southern RI. One of our old timer friends told me that the steps that are built into the side of walls to aid climbing over the wall, at one time, was called a “pardon”. I was wondering […]

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Q & A Fire Stones

Thought I’d share a recent email inquiry. Q. My parents have a house in Camden, ME that they’re adding onto and one of the additions is a stone patio area. My dad really wanted to put in a stone fire pit, but heard that granite fire pits are susceptible to exploding if the stone gets […]

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Listening to Stone Featured

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 […]

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Stone Wall Tavern

An old stone rail trestle runs through downtown Springfield, MA.Along Lyman Street, near its intersection with Main, a doorway in the stone wall leads to a staircase built into the core of the formidable structure. At the top of the stairs, perched atop the trestle is Springfield’s Amtrak station. Nearby, Main St. itself runs under […]

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“Listening to Stone” – Recommended for Gift Giving

From The New York Times, Dec 11, 2008 by Anne River “Listening to Stone: Hardy Structures, Perilous Follies and Other Tangles With Nature” (Artisan, $23.95), by Dan Snow, who has been building stone walls and other structures without mortar for more than 30 years, is practical enough to tempt gardeners to put aside the trowel […]

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Book Events this Weekend 12/13 – 14

Please join Dan this weekend for two events celebrating his new book, Listening to Stone. Saturday December 13The Vermont Book Shop38 Main StreetMiddlebury, VT 05753802-388-2061 Sunday December 14 Yankee Bookshop12 Central Street Woodstock, VT 05091 802-457-2411

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Give the Gift of a Stone Walling Workshop

Give the gift of a Great River Arts Institute stone walling workshop!Program Director Alexis Doshas is hard at work scheduling Great River Arts Institute (GRAI) workshop dates for 2009, and the season will be kicking off on May 9 and 10 with the ever-popular dry stone walling workshop with Dan Snow.Please check the GRAI site […]

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Listening to Stone – Featured in Brattleboro Reformer

Jaime Cone, Reformer Staff writer, interviewed Dan recently about his work and new book, Listening to Stone. The article was featured in the Brattleboro Reformer last week and the full article is now available in the Reformer on-line archives. Here is an exerpt from the article:For his newest book, Snow wrote all the prose that […]

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Book Event at Northshire Books

Dan will be reading from his new book Listening to Stone. Please join us! Friday December 5 at 7pm Northshire Bookstore4869 Main StreetManchester Center, Vermont 05255802-362-2200

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Book Events – Nov 21 – 22

Busy – and fun – weekend ahead. Hope you can join us! Friday November 21 at 7 pmBook signing and slide presentationVillage Square Books32 The Square,Bellows Falls, VT 05101802-463-9404 Saturday, November 22 at 2 pmToadstool BooksThe Colony Mill Marketplace222 West St.Keene, NH 03431 Friday Nov 21 3 – 8 pmSaturday Nov 22 10 am – […]

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Book Signing and Film Screening at Phoenix Books

Please join us for a book signing and film screening.Camilla Rockwell will screen her film about Dan’s work Stone Rising and Dan will talk about his new book Listening to Stone.Phoenix Books Sunday, November 1621 Essex Way, #407 Essex, VT 05452Please call 802.872.7111 for informationTime: 3pm Dan Snow will present his new book, Listening to […]

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Journeyman Walling

I recently received an email message from an aspiring stonemason-“I am eagerly seeking the opportunity to apprentice with a master craftsman. I noticed that yourself and other highly qualified craftsmen have apprenticed overseas – Italy, Scotland, etc. My question is simple; how do I go about procuring an apprenticeship? My sense of adventure pushes me […]

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Listening to Stone – Upcoming Book Signing Events

We are very excited to announce that Dan’s new book, Listening to Stone is now available! Artisan Books, under the direction of the wonderful Ann Bramson, has once again created a beautiful book of Dan’s work and words and Peter Mauss’ photography. Dan’s schedule of Book Signing Events is listed below.Stay tuned for updates to […]

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Fundraising Event 18 October 2008

The fourth annual Great River Arts Institute “Stonetacular” fundraiser netted $3,000 for support of its youth programs. 116 tickets were sold. Peter and Teddy Berg graciously hosted the event at their spectacular Rice Mountain estate in Walpole, NH. Besides viewing the numerous dry stone features on the property (built by yours truly) guests were treated […]

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The Dummerston “Town Pound” Workshop

The Dummerston “Town Pound” workshop on October 4 and 5 was a great success. Fine autumn weather made for excellent working conditions. Sixteen participants took their charge, to build with deliberative care, seriously, but at the same time, lighted the work with good humor. We began by examining the work completed in the 2007 GRAI […]

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Kansas, Stone and the Konza Prairie

The week of Sept. 21st saw Elin and I in the Sunflower State on the Konza Prairie. Kansas State University’s College of Architecture invited me to instruct three days of dry stone walling workshops and lecture on the subject of creative inspiration as part of the competition, “A Place of Repose”. Students worked under clear […]

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The Seal

Dummerston, VT.The “Seal” – path-side seat with “Perch” in background.Black Mountain granite

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The Art of the Stone Wall

Stone wall building workshop – Recreating the Dummerston Town PoundInstruction and guidance in standard walling techniquesOctober 4 – 5, 2008Participants will build a free standig wall in similar proportion to the original 36 foot square enclosure, including inside and outside corners, and cheek ends, utilzing reused local field stone.Please contact Great River Arts Institute for […]

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A Private Reception & Garden Party

A Private Reception & Garden PartyThe Berg EstateWalpole, New HampshireOctober 18th, 20083 –5 p.m. Featuring the Jazz Quartet of Jesse CarrWine and hors d’oeuvres Tickets: $35.00 Tickets can be purchased at: Great River Arts, Bellows Falls, VermontVillage Square Books, Bellows Falls, Vermont Verde, Brattleboro, VermontToadstool Books in Keene and Peterborough, New HampshireSpheris Gallery, Hanover, New […]

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Dummerston Stone Pound Workshop – Volunteer Day

Dummerston Stone Pound Project Volunteers needed to prepare for the upcoming GRAI workshop in October. When: Saturday and Sunday Sept 27 – 28Volunteers wanted anytime 9 am – 3 pm for any length of time!Where: Dummerston town centerPlease bring you own water and snacks, handtools, gloves, proper footwear and eye protection. Just show up when […]

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DSWA – Initial Testing Event Sept 2008

Four testers from across the US successfully passed their DSWA Initial Certification test in Barre, VT this past week.Congratulations to Richard McNally, NY; Christian Petrovich, OR; David Claman, MT; and John Engelland, CO.Many thanks to Silas and Adam for tending and assisting the testers by keeping them well supplied with stone – and enthusiasm, and […]

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Stonework Symposium Barre VT

The 8th Annual Gathering of the Stone FoundationBarre Granite Museum11 – 14 September 2008Stonework demonstrations, competitions and presentations across a broad spectrum of stone disciplines.Presentations and demonstrations included talks and slide presentations on geology, lithology, vernacular acrchitecture, stone roadways, constructions and bridges in Vermont and Norway, dry stone arch bridge reconstruction, granite splitting; japanese style, […]

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Norway in Agust 2008

An unexpected trip to Norway and the Gudbrandsdal valley for my wife and blog mistress, Elin.A stone fence enclosing wooden fence posts in the Hundorp area.

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Stone Symposium Barre VT September 2008

As part of the upcoming Stone Symposium in historic Barre VT, in September, Dan will conduct DSWA testing for the Initial Level.Dan will also present a slideshow and talk on the roadways, constructions and arch bridges of Norway and the stone bridges of Vermont’s James Follett. Please see the link for the full schedule of […]

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Featured in Vermont Life Magazine – Autumn 2008

Featured in Vermont Life Magazine – Autumn 2008 issue – along with stone wallers Michael Weitzner, Jared Flynn and Charley MacMartin.Article on stone workshop and DSWA testing activity in Vermont, written by Sky Barsch with photographs by Stefan Hard.

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June 2008 – DWSA Initial Test

Two testers successfully passed their DSWA Initial Certification test in June. Congratulations to Dennis DeGraw and Daniel Peterson! Many thanks to Aaron Rutz for tending and assisting the testers by keeping them well supplied with stone.

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DSWA Initial Test Scheduled for September 08 in Barre VT

Interested in becoming involved in the Dry Stone Walling Association (DSWA) certification scheme?It’s a great way to learn and improve walling skills. If you have a general knowledge of walling techniques and have had some experience in the craft then you may enjoy taking the Initial test. It involves stripping out and rebuilding a 25 […]

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Stone Workshop – Mohonk Preserve

Sunny skies and warm temperatures graced the 3-day stone-walling workshop held at the Mohonk Preserve over Memorial Day weekend. Under the guidance of Dan Snow and Andrew Pighills, a hearty team of wall builders created a beautiful and functional stone enclosure.Many thanks to the Mohonk preserve staff for preparing the site and gathering the stone.If […]

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Stone Workshop – May 2008

With Dan Snow, Mastercraftsman DSWA Certificate Holder and Andrew Pighills, Advanced DSWA Certificate Holder Saturday, May 24th, Sunday, May 25th, Monday, May 26th 9am-4pm daily Learn about the art and utility of building with dry stone from an internationally recognized dry stone builder. The workshop will focus on the basics of building dry stone structures […]

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Upcoming DSWA Vermont test dates

Vermont, USA 2008 schedule of test dates and fees.Please refer to the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain link for details and requirements! June 21, 20088am-5pmAll levels-Certification Scheme Tests September 10, 20088am-5pmInitial level Certification Test, only June 21 tests – All levelsLocation: Thistledew 340 Goodenough Rd. Brattleboro, Vermont 05301Examiners: Dan Snow and Michael Weitzner […]

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Q and A – Dry Stone Walling and Certification

In response to a recent inquiry about stone walling and the DSWA testing scheme: My professional walling life began in 1976. I became a member of the DSWA in 1986 when I spent a summer “dyking” in Scotland. I didn’t start with the testing scheme until 1994, when again on a trip to Scotland I […]

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Stone Workshop May 2008

Stone Workshop with Dan Snow Saturday, May 24th, Sunday, May 25th, Monday, May 26th9am-4pm daily Learn about the art and utility of building with dry stone from an internationally recognized dry stone builder. The workshop will focus on the basics of building dry stone structures and will include active instruction and hands on participation. Participants […]

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Cornwall Stone Event

The Art of the Stone WallWhen Chris and Becky Dayton contacted Dummerston stone artist, Dan Snow to build a wall in front of their house, they had in mind a simple stone wall. They were amazed and delighted with the completed work of art; a pair of freestanding walls that fan out in multiple directions […]

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Stone Tour September 2007

The third annual tour of the work of Dan Snow was hosted by the Great River Arts Institute. The self-guided tour took place under sunny autumn skies on Saturday, September 29, 2007 in and around Brattleboro, Guilford and Halifax, Vermont.

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Stone Workshop – September 2007

Blessed with with sunny skies, warm temperatures, a cooling breeze, and a wonderful location in Dummerston Center, 22 participants worked and learned together, creating several beautiful stone constructions and walls, under the direction of Travis Callahan, Andrew Pighills and Dan Snow.

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DSWA Vermont Testing

DSWA Vermont TestingDate and location TBA – Spring 08 Check link to DSWA web pages for details All levels-Certification Scheme Tests Pre-registration REQUIRED through DSWA

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Environmental Art Workshop in Finland

JUNE 2007 As part of the Sixth International Conference on Environmental Aesthetics in Koli, Finland, a group of students from The University of Art and Design Helsinki created – under the direction of Dan Snow – a dry stone environmental art installation. With many thanks to: Markku Hakuri and Jukka Tommila for presenting the opportunity […]

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Northern Landscape Stonecentric Travel April – July 2006

We traveled through Scotland, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway in May, June and July of ’06. Our focus was on the creation of stone-centric landscape art and the study of natural and man made stone features, along with learning about the food traditions, landscape, art and culture of northern lands.

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