John Bland is a graduate of the Heritage Masonry course at Algonquin College in Perth Ontario where John Scott (a consultant with the DSWAC) has been the chief instructor. After gaining essential walling skills at this renown Canadian institute he attended a couple Canadian workshops, one being at our 2011 Rocktoberfest in Caledon Ontario. With these hands on experiences, just a little less than year ago, he began work on this wall in Quebec.
It's interesting to see the calibre of workmanship John displays and note that this is the result of good training, and obviously an enthusiastic response to the examples he has seen and the possibilities there is for walling in Canada, as well as his openness to participating in walling events here and a dedication to personally applying his skills at getting better. These are all aspects of Canadian walling which we as organization have been encouraging from our inception in Canada more than 9 years ago, and not in fact the product of any particular certification scheme.
"Thank god," He added in a recent letter to me.
"I started the project last march working only on weekends. I thought I would be able to get it done by winter that way. By mid summer I saw that my time estimate was way off. The project eventually consumed me. In October I quit my job to try and put a satisfying dent in it before winter came. I managed to get one section about 80 percent finished."
The stone is Covey Hill sandstone from a quarry called Ducharme. It comes from the eastern townships of Quebec. There are two colors. A dark blue which he uses for the cheek ends, copes and jumpers and a grey for the runners and snecks.
John says building is tricky. When he gets an idea in his head he tries hard to make it come alive. He admits to being a little obsessive compulsive. And realizes that this is both a good and a bad thing.
"My work looks good but it takes a while for me to be satisfied. It's mostly John Scott's fault ha ha. He taught me all these rules for stone bonding and I think I may have taken him a little too seriously."
People pass by all the time and talk to me like I'm some kind of pro dry stone waller. I tell them I'm a beginner and I don't really know what I'm doing ha ha. More workshops! "