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 we call home, it will offer them practical skills they can employ wherever they may roam. Last fall, a portion of disintegrated field wall alongside Dutton Farm Road was given a second life by a group of stone enthusiasts who came from five different states and Canada. The May workshop will continue the effort to restore that 900′ length of wall. Modeled after the successful project that brought together 44 workshop participants to re-imagine and construct Dummerston’s original 1796 Town Livestock Pound near the Historical Society Building in 2008-9, the Dutton Farm Road wall will take shape over the course of the coming years.
The wall restoration will be the first project under the direction of a newly formed organization called The Stone Trust. Jared Flynn is heading up the not-for-profit that will partner local projects with workshop participants and qualified instructors in the craft of dry stone walling. One of those instructors happens to be yours truly. As a long-time waller and Mastercraftsman/ Examiner with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, I get to hold sway over the gathering taking place May 29-30. Actually, my job is more to hold back participant’s enthusiasm, as it sometimes runs ahead of their growing skill set. Somewhere between anarchy and dictatorship a wall gets built, and everyone has a good time.
The second voice of authority for the Dutton Farm wall workshop will have a marked accent. Joining me from England is Andrew Loudon, another DSWA Mastercraftsman/ Examiner. Andrew won the DSWA’s 2009 Pinnacle Award. The prize was given for the beautiful, and skillfully rendered, garden feature he recently completed. Andrew will also be the lead examiner for DSWA Craftsman Certification test scheduled for May 31. The test scheme allows amateur and professional wallers the opportunity to measure their skills against a set standard wall construction. Candidates who pass the grueling seven-hour long practical test have reason to be proud of their achievement.
If it all sounds like a lot of hard work, you’re right, but it’s fun, too. Past participants have said that the experience was a high point in their year. Getting together to tuck into a pile of stones might not be everybody’s idea of a great weekend. For those intrepid folks who do, Dummerston is the place to be.
Landmark Trust USA and The Stone Trust join together to offer the two-day workshop at Scott Farm. The workshop will be held rain or shine on Saturday and Sunday, May 29 and 30, from 8:30 to 4:00 each day.
DSWA Craftsman Certification tests will take place on Monday, May 31.
Jared Flynn fields questions about the dry stone walling workshop (802) 254-2432.