Monday, June 17, 2013

Preparing for the best.

A lot of planning goes into a walling festival  Festival of Stone

Faithful friends and longtime supporters of walling here in Canada gathered this past weekend and others will be gathering in the next two weeks (from Ontario right across the country, as well as the States, and Britain) to work together in Alton, to prepare to promote and celebrate not just walling, but the whole tradition of cooperation long associated with the craft worldwide. 

These are good people, committed professionals eager to see walling enthusiasts and newcomers alike join forces in a now nation wide organization (a 'Canadian Association' - a legal, 'not for profit', cooperation with board members that were democratically elected, and a mission statement that was carefully crafted to not exclude any important aspects of dry stone walling being established here in Canada ) a body of people who have chosen to circumnavigate all forms of oneupmanship, elitism and negativity - past , present and future .

We are preparing for the best. 

And that means building up and maintaining good relationships (not just walls) as well as a solidly Canadian dry stone wall identity.

Any other agenda would be insane — but then there are 'institutions' if you are looking for that sort of thing.

Shaping and stock-piling the all-important cornerstones.

Setting out the base in order to build together.

Making sure the lines (of communication ) are always in place

Being straight and level with one another


  1. Good luck .May your walls have years.

  2. That the british organization seems to not play be its own rules in terms of not backing the legitimate not for profit organization in Canada is quite an indictment.

  3. It is too bad the Canadian not for profit association's festival hasn't had mention on the DSWAGB's new facebook site. The festival has 2 of their master craftsmen teaching and testing from level one to advanced will be taking place. In April there was a big write up endorsing the efforts of a competing independent 'for profit' organization in Canada and it's hard to see clearly the intentions of that. One would think that an Internationally recognized charity wouldn't solely endorse an independent 'for profit' organization over an actual 'not for profit' with the same goals to promote, preserve and educate the public about the craft, but funnier things have happened. To cut off a young 'not for profit' group that has longevity and to endorse and team up with an independent buisness venture that relies on one person to keep it running is the poorer investment choice in my oppinion. It seems that the Not for profit group will continue to push on and have fun doing so. Keep building for the future of the craft in Canada!

  4. Very important comments which need addressing . Thanks both of you.

  5. Actually, The DSWA GB has been very supportive of our new not for profit association and has advised us on several occasions in regards to setting up what we've accomplished so far. We are still in the infancy of this association and I know that the DSWAGB would be glad to help more in the future. I know for a fact that we would have more DSWAGB involvement with our festival if we had given more notice to our friends across the pond. But that is only due to timing, not because they support someone more than another. We've done a great job putting this festival together almost last minute, but understandably people had already filled their schedules by the time we contacted them. That is all.
    Now that we as Canadians are entering the international community of wallers, we need to be more objective with the facts and not let ourselves be swayed by hearsay and voice assumptions based on old conflicts. Otherwise we'll burn our bridges before ever stepping on them.

    Menno Braam

  6. There are a lot of rumours and hearsay floating around about both sides of the coin in regards to the development of the Canadian association. Past emotions and grudges here still are present which needs to change. I feel as a whole we can progress ahead a lot faster and in a more positive direction without competing independent organizations but a little competition will keep everyone on thier toes I guess. The mud slinging has to stop and I know it is present on both sides. The group here is very supportive to certification and recognizes the value of said process due to contrary beliefs. The joys of being in the beginning stages, but we can look back years from now and realize how our petty differences were pretty dumb in the long run. That's my 2 cents anyways.


  7. Totally agree Menno.

    As Menno and I are both directors of the newly incorporated DSWAC, we confidently say that we have found DSWA-GB to be very accommodating, and they have been very helpful through our certification process. I believe they would have had a stronger presence had DSWAC acted sooner with more foresight, but foresight and speed isn't always a virtue of a fledgling organisation such as ours.

    Additionally, DSWA-GB HAS mentioned our festival on their facebook website as well. We are much appreciative.

    Who is the 'anonymous' commentator after Norman? Why not post your name after making such uninformed accusations?

    As in DSWAC's mandate, the Canadian association will continue doing everything we can to further the art and craft of dry stone walling and this will most assuredly continue in learning and exchanging with organisations like DSWA-GB.


    Evan Oxland

  8. I Don't think the DSWAGB as an association will cut ties with a not for profit nation wide organization, over one person's opinion on an internet blog. Or are things really that tender? I don't know. It seems people are worked up and I feel getting upset over such insignificant happenings is what keeps this back and forth here in Canada going.
    Just to state I am not a board member of the Not for profit here in Canada but a strong supporter of the efforts here. Through my interactions with the public and other landscapers who have taken part in the independent efforts over the last year, the impression is that these efforts are backed fully by the DSWAGB. Though I know that each master is there on their own accord, and can do what they please, I can see where some may think there is an endorsement there.
    That being said, it should be celebrated that the interest in the craft here in Canada on the whole is large enough now that multiple organizations can exist. And really it seems ontario is the central hub of it all. I think we need to all take a step back, breathe a little and look at what has been accomplished here just over the last 10 years or so. The past is an example of one like minded group working together as a whole in building an industry really. Not for profit or for profit, on the whole we're making dry stone history in this country. I do feel without the mud slinging and people putting differences aside things will progress faster. But if someone doesn;t want to be apart of what is happening, it can't be forced. But as a group we should still push forward on our own accord, not worrying about the opinions of those who don't care enough to actually take part and be helpful.

    Here here to us!


  9. Just to put the record straight The DSWA GB does not have a policy of directly endorsing any overseas dry stone walling group, the only exception to this is the DSWA North American Members Group which was set up a couple of years ago as the result of a direct request by DSWA GB members in NA as they felt at the time they wanted to form something akin to a DSWA regional branch as we have in the UK. UK charity law does not allow this so the NA members group was set up as the next best thing available within the constraints imposed by the charity commission here in the UK , other than that we endorse no group or individual. Notwithstanding this if a group or individual contacts the DSWA GB officially via our office to request assistance or advice we will do everything we can to help, whether this is a request for advice, information or indeed a list of recommended DSWA GB instructors and examiners to act as DSWA ambassadors at overseas events. I think the confusion here has arisen from the difference between an official DSWA GB presence and a personal invitation, the first is arranged through an organisation the other is exactly what it says it is, a personal invitation. The fledgling Canadian walling association has made several approaches to the DSWA GB with requests for information and advice which I believe have been dealt with courteously and promptly and indeed in the run up to the forthcoming event they have organised they were supplied with a list of DSWA recommended master craftsmen to invite, unfortunately the invitations went out quite late and none of these craftsmen were able to attend at such short notice. The DSWA GB works tirelessly to promote the craft of dry stone walling throughout the UK, for that is where we are based, we will only stray outside our geographical boundaries if requested to do so by the same token we are happy to promote other groups or walling events outside the the UK if requested to do so, if such a request is received then as in the past it will be dealt with in a prompt and courteous manner. I would respectfully suggest that using face book and blogs such as this as rumour mills to spread misinformation by anonymous malcontents is is somewhat unhelpful and divisive. If we are all as passionate about the craft of dry stone walling as we say we are then lets just be the best wallers we can be and get on with it.

    Andrew Loudon