I drove all the way from Port Hope to Ashveille last Monday to join over fifty other people attending this year's Stone Symposium in Asheville North Carolina.
I met up Tomas and Patrick McAfee and with Sean Adcock who had just completed a dry stone walling course with 5 students. The next day, three of the students ( Franklin, Josh and Matt, shown standing behind their training wall ) spent one more gruelling day in the hot sun, this time taking down and rebuilding a lot of the wall and successfully passed their test to acquire their beginners certification . Congratulations guys.
At the same time as all this was going on Nick Fairplay was teaching a course on stone carving. Along with about seven other students, my friends Akira (seen in photo above) and Evan were busy carving away and soaking up all they could learn from Nick who is an amazingly talented and prolific stone sculptor.
Patrick McAfee was at another location teaching a course on traditional stone masonry using lime mortar.
Later in the week, after the official meet and greet at the Lexington Ave Pub the night before, we gathered in the parking lot to begin a tour of the stonework at the famous Biltmore house.
The Biltmore Gardens were impressive too, though Patrick and Sean and I thought the stone walls surrounding the main walled garden were a bit disappointing. I hope to take time to explain why in a future post.
Later in that day (and also in the evening) we gathered at the Masonic Lodge for several stone related presentations by a number of very interesting speakers including Vince Lee, Sean Adcock and William Westcott.