Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Canadian Dryscaping Award

Sam Bauman was flattered, and a little surprised to be notified he won this year's Dryscaping Award. Sam was awarded a cheque for the amount of 300 dollars from the DSWAC as the Canadian winner in this year's category - Dry Stone Sculpture - for his 'floating teardrop' submission. The details of the competition, which ends each year on Thanksgiving Weekend at Roctoberfest was posted on the website explaining that the work had to be a dry stone sculpture of material, of any size, made of any natural stone material. It must have been built and/or completed in 2009 or 2010. The dry stone art installation had to be permanent.

I had an opportunity to see this sculpture in person when Sam and I worked together near Cambridge early last spring. He invited me back for dinner one evening. His unusual teardrop limestone structure which he built last year was sitting in the back yard suspended on a disk attached to a strong iron bar. The half ton structure actually sways in the breeze. I was quite amazed to see how strong and permanent it is but also how 'dismantleable' ( is that a word) it is as well. Sam was pleased to show me how it came apart.

Sam's experience in walling has come through trial and error and with working with other skilled wallers. Taking the typical route of landscapers, Sam started a lawn maintenance company at 14, with a $500 oil burning lawn tractor. His goal was always to get hired by a landscaping firm, which happened during his co-op term through high school. After working for the company for his first couple years out of high school, he had an opportunity to start a company with Mark Schwarz, which was about 5 years ago.

Since then, they have been pushing themselves to do better designs and use better and more creative construction materials. Through this process they have been incorporating drystone walls into some of their designs, and the clients have always been in love with the finished project. He finds great pleasure in working with such a rigid and stubborn material, because as he says, "when it's shaped the way I want, I am usually quite pleased with the unique look that is created."