Editorial Reviews – In the Company of Stone
Dan Snow builds stone walls without benefit of mortar or other binding material. This ancient dry-stone method is experiencing a revival, and Snow’s In the Company of Stone is full of moody photos of recent landscape projects, some of which look as if they’d been part of the scenery for centuries. Snow’s poetic commentary and a helpful appendix of design detail make for an inspiring, informative book.
Although some sculptors choose to subtract–carving away at a block to reveal the form concealed within–others, like Snow, fabricate works that reach fruition by way of an additive process. The compellingly tactile quality of stone entices Snow to build drystone walls and other structures, sometimes crafting such autonomous shapes as spheres. Likening the process of walling to alchemy, Snow conveys a boundless delight with his occupation. Whether describing the material that occupies his days, or expressing intricate knowledge of how stone responds at each stage of construction, Snow writes beautifully. Befitting the narrative, a felicitous clarity distinguishes Peter Mauss’ black-and-white photographs and beguiling color images, all of which reveal Snow’s profound artistry at work. In all, this handsome book discloses the potency of stone as displayed in the deftly crafted walls and staircases, raised planting beds, and fanciful grotto that enhance the houses, gardens, and open landscapes of Snow’s fortunate clients. Alice Joyce, Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Editorial Reviews – Listening to Stone
“What a pleasure to have the tales of these new wonders told, and in such lovely prose.”—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
A master craftsman provides us with the timeless wisdom he has gained from heaving and hewing stone. In his highly anticipated second book, Vermonter Dan Snow once again proves that he is not just one of America’s premier artisans, but also one of our most articulate voices on the natural world and our relationship to it. Snow’s medium is stone: He is the nation’s premier drystone wall builder. Schooled in this ancient craft, he painstakingly creates structures as breathtaking as sculpture with nothing but gravity as their glue. In Listening to Stone, Peter Mauss’s tactile photographs of Snow’s artistry are matched by the artisan’s quietly compelling prose. In a voice as expressive as Annie Dillard’s and as informed as John McPhee’s, Snow demonstrates astonishing range as he touches on such subjects as geology, philosophy, and community. We learn that stone’s grace comes from its unique characteristics—its capacity to give, its surprising fluidity, its ability to demand respect, and its role as a steadying force in nature. In these fast-paced times, Snow’s life’s work offers an antidote: the luxury of patience, the bounty and quietude of nature, the satisfaction of sweat. “I work with stone,” he ultimately tells us, “because stone is so much work.”
A Treasure Chest of Gardening Wisdom, for You or Those on Your Gift List
By Joel M. Lerner,December 13, 2008, Washington Post
“Listening to Stone: Hardy Structures, Perilous Follies, and Other Tangles With Nature,” by Dan Snow (Artisan, 2008), is a brilliant work by an ingenious artist and stone mason. Your jaw will drop a little more with each turn of the page. It’s reminiscent of artwork by M.C. Escher, who drew impossible structures, except Escher’s drawings were one-dimensional. Snow’s works are three-dimensional, real-world objects that are constructed of stone without mortar that actually exists in the landscape Remarkably, most are working fabrications. His latest book is part philosophy and part geology. He promotes a sense of community: When loose stone is collected and arranged, conversations take place. We hear people pondering their place on earth. With photography by Peter Mauss, this 144-page hardcover will inspire you to fashion your own stone structures.