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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parmelee Walling Workshop

This weekend I was joined by my good friends and colleagues Dan Snow, Chuck Eblacker and Brian Fairfield to teach a walling workshop at the Parmelee Farm here in Killingworth, CT. It was great to have the opportunity to spend some time with them, scattered around the northeast as we are, it's a rare and much looked forward to occasion to enjoy one another's company. (It gives me an idea for a book, maybe I'll write one and call it "In The Company of Stonemasons"). It was a fine workshop; a lot of enthusiasm and hard work produced results that few of us expected to achieve in such a short time. Dan has a remarkable manner of caring and inquiring that always seems to draw people in, even if they may be nervous about their skill level, and what he says is pure gold. Chuck puts people at ease and gets their undivided attention with his distinct style of teaching and demonstrating solutions to potential flaws. His tool demonstration was valuable and much appreciated. Brian's knowledge and skill tends to be camouflaged by his energy, enthusiasm and accessibility; qualities that make a big contribution to the workshop's success. The participants came from all over New England and were genuinely excited about learning the craft of dry stone walling, making it a pleasure to share with them the knowledge and skills that I've accumulated over the years.
We were able to incorporate two distinct traditional farm features into the work; a 'lunkie' and a 'stile', both of which serve to control livestock but in different ways. The 'lunkie' permits sheep to pass from one pasture to the next, and the 'stile' keeps-em in, while permitting a farmer and his dog to pass from one pasture to the next. Photos of the results of the workshop can be seen on Flickr by doing a search for Parmelee Farm Drystone Walling.
Warm thanks to Dan, Chuck and Brian for all their help and congratulations to all the participants who achieved so much.