Friday, January 28, 2011


They say a good waller picks up a stone once and then puts in the wall. To keep picking it up and putting it down again isn't efficient. Upon reflection, this seems to make sense. Each time you pick up the same rock you're expending a greater effort and building a bigger imaginary wall than the one you finally end up with. The accumulative effect of the stones, as they are moved and removed, and fitted and refitted, not only slows you down it weighs you down.

A stone weighs less underwater. It weighs even less when it's reflected upside down in water. The upper wall is the mirror image of the real one below. Or is it? In fact it has one more stone in it than the real one. That stone which looks like it has already been fit in the upper imaginary 'watery' wall is in fact still several feet away from being put into the lower 'dry' wall.

Perhaps building could be sped up if we paused and considered our pool of stones a bit more and pondered the shapes and sizes a bit longer. Building beside water, we may not always be able to step back to look, but we should still step back in our mind and try to imagine how our wall is coming together. A wall could be finished in half the time if we reflected on these sort of things.


  1. When working with stone or adobe etc. time can be spent thinking about reducing motion.
    A good waller may have the ability to memorize geometric shapes and sizes of the space to be filled as he or she searches a well organized pile.
    The mind can be trained to visualize the path from chaos (the pile) to order (the wall).

  2. Yes 'spacial memory' is so important. It's something that might at first be missing in our personal bag of skills, but not something we can afford to leave undeveloped, if we are going to make a living fitting stones in walls, or packing furniture in a moving van.