Monday, October 31, 2011

Scary Stonework

Just because a dry stone structure looks different, just because it lacks the extra tight coursing of say Yorkshire style walls, or because it's built in the middle of a pumpkin patch or has strange irregular stones protruding from it , holes running through it or maybe untapered stones suspended together in an arch – that doesn't automatically make it 'scary'. 

A wall may look like it is falling down too, but that may be because it was built to look that way. Case in point the Gothic Victorian ruins  Dan Snow and several others of us in the DSWAC built  at Hill and Dale B and B in Canada back in 2005 which had some stones pushing out from a big hole where other stones appeared to be missing in the foundation. It was actually designed to appear like the whole thing  was coming apart. To this day if I am showing visitors the folly here in Port Hope I have to tell them not worry about the ruined look of the walls and that it was all planned.

Even if a wall is showing obvious signs of wear and has annoying cracks along it, it's likely that it still has years of life in it. Honestly folks, it isn't that scary. It definitely isn't as scary as concrete (no matter how long it lasts) or cement block work, or mortared stonework that doesn't even trying to look beautiful or aesthetic. It isn't as scary as innocuously bland heaps of institutional masonry built without imagination or any respect for the environment. It isn't as scary a torturous gabion cages or ominous military occupations of armour stone

No 'scary' means badly built to the point where it is embarrassing or dangerous. And while it's scary when people try to do it and yet completely fail in terms of how structural or beautiful dry stone work could have been, it's even more 'scary' when those who know they can do better, only criticise and rarely risk trying anything out of the ordinary or whimsical or even remotely scary themselves.  

Now that's scary!

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