Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Sunset of Civilization

This dry stone 'project' is described as 'challenging'. There are two paragraphs and a couple of bad drawings describing how to do it.

There was a time after the dawn of civilization when for many centuries masons learned their trade by apprenticing and working with experienced masons. Nowadays a weekend enthusiast can just go to a Chapters bookstore and find a book like this one on masonry and presumably, just by reading a page or two, build a house or a wall or an arch like the one we built during an advanced course I taught at Glendale College in 2008. 

The whole book though dotted with a few pictures of good stonework is full of incorrect information and unstructural shortcuts with loads of questionable techniques which are totally misleading and far too oversimplified for anyone with any genuine interest in learning the trade seriously. I and many masons like me have spent years and years building and restoring structural stone buildings and know that it's not something you can just look at a picture of and say "That looks easy, why should I take a course to learn how to do that?". I think this sort of publication marks the 'sunset' of masonry and civilization as we know it.