Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This is new section of pitched pathway built in the lake District by professional waller and trail maker Gavin Rose.
I first met Gavin in Mallorca at the 2007 Stone Symposium workshop in Deia where a large number of enthusiastic students learned to build the unique walls and historic cobbled stone pathways they have there.
Gavin has since been to Canada several times to take our Canadian bridge building workshops in Russell Ontario, Cobourg Ontario and most recently at the DSWAC annual event Rocktoberfest last year where Gavin introduced this method of pitching for the walking surface on Kay's Bridge which we built during the festival.
Here is what Gavin writes about this method.
This style of stone pitching has a long history in the Lake District in places such as slate quarries, where the steep grade of the track required to move material on the fells to lower down meant that the tread needed to be reinforced. In this particular case, a combination of trail bike traffic and water was severely eroding this unclassified road.
For those unfamiliar with stone pitching, one way of describing it is like a single skinned retaining wall with a very low batter i.e. a roughly 6 to one batter as opposed to the more normal proportion of one to six. As the track was lower than the verges on either side a pipe and stone culvert were placed down the middle and the pitching built over the top of it. At certain points in the pitching, water bars were installed to divert surface water run off into the culvert underneath.
To get an even surface I used a a simple technique that I learnt in Mallorca, Spain where pitching has been used for thousands of years. At the start of my pitching, at the down hill end, I placed a board across the road at the height I wanted the final surface of stone to be and placed another timber board cross the road at the other end of were the section of pitching would end - using a spirit level to get each board level. With the two boards in place either end I could then use a third board, with one end resting on the downhill board and the other end on the uphill board to determine the final surface of the pitching in between.
Then it was a case of laying the stones much as you would in a wall - placing them with their length running into the pitched surface and crossing the joins for strength - and using my board as a guide to get the right level(much as you would use a string line and frame on a wall to get the correct batter). Once the stone had been laid, gravel was meticulously worked into all the voids between and under the stones, using a stick, to help hold the stones in place.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Stones have definite seasons. They are all about rebirth too. They wait every day just like the plants until their time comes.In spring they peek out from their wintry homes where they've laid nestled in the ground and begin to warm themselves in the protracted rays of sunlight.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
...."For me, those that get all up in arms about sources of inspiration, the ones that misuse words like ‘plagiarism’ are rarely actively producing anything of value themselves. They’re merely trolls, eager to join a mob instead of spending their time and energy inventing, remixing and poking. If that’s all you can contribute--vague threats of lawsuits, insults and screeds--we’re better off ignoring you.
And for the self-styled producer who does nothing but copy and pass things off, we’re better off without you as well.
Now, more than ever, we can see the work an artist (in any medium, any endeavor) produces over time. If all an artist can do is steal, the truth will out. For the rest, though, a lifetime of consistent provocation, inspiration and generosity can’t help but shine through. Inspirations and all".
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Don't stop hunting until youve found the perfect rock.....
The Rock-waller is the newer chunkier stronger American version of the British Stone-waller.
The Boulder Collie is always looking for a job like holding up a cheek-end or working with a Shepherd stone to keep sheep incloser
The Boxer stone likes to help out with the shape of walls square he can
The Irish Stone Setter is eager and faithful but also has a will of its stone
The Great Pyramid Rock is large and triangular. It's likes to help you scheme
The Greyround will race other rocks to be in the wall
The Pekigneiss is a rock that doesnt like to be taken for granite
The Pointer rock makes an enduring standing stone.
The Ridgeback is useful for coping.
The Schist Tzu needs to be laid along its Tibeting plain
The Wallmariner makes a good break-water or sea-wall.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
If you're going to try building a cairn you'll need a lot of special 'cairn' rocks. Hopefully you'll find this type of rock all around where you're planning to build, both on the surface and under the ground. If not you will have to adopt a different rock material and a new strategy.
The terrain where cairn rocks prefer to gather is usually rugged uneven ground, full of outcroppings and glacial till. Cairn Terrain Rocks (or 'Cairn Terriers' as they're commonly called) are great for building free-standing mounded dry stone monuments. They are small to medium sized rugged rocks which love to do any job that you set them to do. They seem to like to huddle together in groups nestled on top of one another. Their shape is usually somewhat triangular, with smaller rear sections and larger faces. This makes them fit well in rounded structures. Take care not to upset them while you are building with them as they can often be quite aggressive and hurt you, or more likely fall out with each other.
Cairn Terriers must be put in their place at an early stage so that they don't try to pull some quick moves on you. The toughness that makes them suited to aggressively fastening on to other rocks can frustrate you when you try to use them in different combinations with less suitable shaped material. Cairn Terriers can be stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you have to prove that you are the one doing the building. Your walling must be absolutely consistent and you must 'stand your ground' with them. Make them sit up and mark well the place that you have decided they should be.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The 'pet rock' fad caught on quickly and flourished here in Canada back in the 70's as profiteers saw an opportunity to catch people's fancy with these cute cuddly aggregates. Unfortunately the enthusiasm for owning them soon dwindled and the whole 'rock-caring' phase vanished not long afterwards as public interest in anything to do with rocks, especially giving rocks a good home, dropped out of the public consciousness.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
It's basic mass.
It's about carrying and carrying on. Its about addition and subtraction.
Its about caring and being cared for.
It seems the stuff of life needs to be broken down again and again and then, rearranged.
The breaking down can be exhilarating or devastatingly painful.
The building up can be creative or completely draining.
The basic elements are lying scattered all around in various forms of three-dimensional matter.
In the rubble we discover some of the lowest common denominators.
The parts are smaller than any fraction of the whole.
The particles will settle eventually and then start the process of rearranging themselves.
They invite us to join them. And rejoin them in a basic rebuilding process.
They are the real stuff of life.
The challenge becomes determining what else is real, and then putting those pieces back together too.
Regrouping is about life.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Productivity comes from interactivity and the exchange of ideas and talents.
People are happiest when they're encouraged and trusted.
An airport functions far better when we don't strip search passengers. Tiffany's may post guards at the door, but the salespeople are happy to let you hold priceless jewels. Art museums let you stand close enough to paintings to see them. Restaurants don't charge you until after you eat.
Compare this environment of trust with the world that Paypal has to live in. Every day, thousands of mobsters in various parts of the world sit down intent on scamming the company out of millions of dollars. If the site makes one mistake, permits just one security hole to linger, they're going to be taken for a fortune. As a result, the company isn't just paranoid--they know that people really are out to get them.
This is the fork in the road that just about all of us face, whether as individuals or organizations. We have to make an assumption about whether people are going to steal our ideas, break their promises, void their contracts and steal from us, or perhaps, that people are basically honest, trustworthy and generous. It's very hard to have both postures simultaneously. I have no idea how those pistol-packing guys in the movies ever get a good night's sleep.
In just about every industry (except electronic money transfer, apparently), assuming goodwill is not only more productive, it's also likely to be an accurate forecast.
( Reposted from 'Seths' blog yesterday Assuming goodwill)
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
I recently received an update from Brian Wood about the completed workshop wall that Andy Geekie worked on in Yorkshire, an event which Andy wrote about and I posted on Thinking With My Hands last Thursday. Very interestingly this dry stone wall that was built by students in a public place as a permanent feature. Here is the article that Brian, of the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, sent.
- This wall was built in April/May 2010 as a rather different training exercise by a 40 strong team combining tutors and members of the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, with student groups attending three dedicated training courses. One student, a member of the Dry Stone Walling Association (Canada), came as a part of his UK holiday. The job was commissioned to enclose a new plant sales area at the Visitor Centre to the World Heritage site of Fountains Abbey near Ripon, Yorkshire.
The finished wall is 23 metres long and stands 1.82 metres high from base to top. Built in the traditional Yorkshire manner with projecting through stones, it contains about 60 tonnes of newly quarried sandstone supplied from Ravensworth Sandstone Quarry near Scotch Corner. The task took ten days and some 500 man hours to complete.
A small detail not visible in the photographs is a built in duct under the wall to carry rainwater from the building roof to a future water harvesting tank in the amphitheatre depression outside the wall. This feature had to be bridged, as can be seen, in the early phases of the construction for safety reasons and to help with the problem of reduced access height on that side. It was removed as soon as the wall had advanced beyond, it actually made access to the wall rather limited as well.
The National Trust’s structural engineer was concerned that the excavations for the footings seemed inadequate, simply prepared as is usual for a dry stone wall. We reassured him that this method has served such walls satisfactorily for centuries and also calculated the ground loading at the base of the wall. It was remarkably low with a figure of about 2.5 pounds per square foot; about the same as that exerted by a 12 stone man on his feet!!
There were then no further concerns and the project proceeded with his blessing.-
Monday, March 7, 2011
We always use string-lines when we are building a straight wall. Always. We tell our students to use them and teach them how to use them. To think that people can build straight without them is pretty crazy. We occasionally, to get round something or access a tricky spot may remove a section temporarily or we may untie them to move a lot of stone across to the other side of the wall, but essentially these lines have to be there while we are building and they are in fact essential in the process of building a good straight wall.