Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting A Grip

Sometimes it just so hard to get a grip on things. Hands-on workshops can be very free form unpredictable things. There are so many variables. The stones can be way too large or difficult to shape. There can be too many of the same sizes or too few of them. The weather may not cooperate. The scope of the project may be beyond the level of the students abilities. There may be scheduling problems or misunderstanding as to just exactly what is supposed to be done.

However, the Ventura dry stone workshop went amazingly well. The project was held at the perfect place with the perfect combination of scenery and sunny weather and completed just in time before the rain moved in. The locals have treated us like kings. The stone was just challenging enough to keep it interesting for everyone. The sizes ranged from 6 ton boulders to soccer ball sizes, with plenty of nice shaped hearting. Everyone got to work on different parts of the walls and everyone got along. And the final product, two huge curved-cornered dry stone ramparts looked amazing.

There is a real sense of accomplishment amongst the people tonight. Some of us are going home, pumped up with ideas of how to incorporate this new Japanese style of walling into our own projects. Some of us are staying to be involved in the second part of this international symposium. People have been driving and flying in from all over. Wallers of every age and skill level are here, both male and female, all backgrounds and all excited to be together for these two weeks.
So despite the wondering prior to this event how it all was going to turn out, it does seem that most of us have got a pretty good grip now and we'll ride the next few days of rain out no problem and still have lots of fun. Special thanks goes to Stonefoundation director Tomas Lipps and Ventura's own stone man Paul Lindhard.

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