Building stone walls, fireplaces, arches and bridges with many hands is not just lighter and faster work but also very educational. There are representatives here at our Canadian Rocktoberfest from 5 different countries - wallers all bringing their expertise to the four Thanksgiving Festival dry stone projects to create a melting pot of knowledge and ideas.
Here in the picture masons Steve Hodges,Gavin Rose,Michael Weitzner,Patrick McAfee,Charley MacMartin,Menno Braam,Andre Lemieux and I stand around the configuration of voussoirs we have spent the day shaping and fitting on the flat area near the bridge so they can be placed onto the bridge form tomorrow. Patrick's idea of preparing the voussoirs beforehand to one side of the bridge was brilliant. It enabled a lot more accurate pre-fitting and shaping with a lot more of the volunteer wallers participating so that when we move them all over to the bridge and fit them together onto the form tomorrow the actual building of the barrel arch will take very little time at all.
These sharing of ideas and better ways of doing things is what it's all about at these festivals. It's not just the new friendships and getting together in the evening with old friends and wallers from other countries and past events, but also the learning to 'give and take' with each other, and work together as a team, which turns out to be just as important an element of what we are doing . The bridge I envisioned for Landon Bay has become a better structure because of the input of those who have graciously come to add their time and experience to the project, and added valuable input as to how the process of building the bridge can be improved.
Same too with the hiking trail arch and the dry stone fireplace and the way we have organized the two day DSWA training sessions (for the 28 students from all over North America attending tomorrow's workshops ) which will be taught today by Ireland's Patrick McAfee, Scotland's Norman Haddow and the State's Michael Weitzner.
Tomorrow I hope to post pictures of all these projects and spotlight some of the many wallers from all over North America and Britain who have gathered here in Rockport this weekend for what is turning out to be the best dry stone walling festival ever held in Canada.