ROCKPORT – When you look at a dry-stone wall, you can tell right away whether the builder was in a good mood, according to 'waller' John Shaw-Rimmington. “You can look at a wall and instantly know if the guy was at peace with himself,” he said. Whether it was a good day or a good week this can come across in the wall itself.
Shaw-Rimmington offered his comment about zen and the art of wall-building during the annual Art Fair and Dry-Stone Wall event last weekend.
Having built walls from Spain to California, in the United States, Scotland and Ireland, Shaw-Rimmington, of Port Hope, said, “Walling is becoming more of a craft, an artistic craft.”
The six-foot-high wall students were learning about and would be working on, located on Front Street, was started in October. Students were hands-on for the workshop, which offered instruction on use of proper masonry tools and the basics of structural masonry without mortar. Only stone was used.
Shaw-Rimmington enjoyed an easy banter with the seven participating students, encouraging back and forth discussion as well as questions. Students came from as far as the Toronto and Ottawa areas to take part. And folks have come farther, he said. In one instance, a man came all the way from California to Canada to take one of his courses.
Shaw-Rimmington, the founder of Dry Stone Walling Across Canada, is also an author, a mason, contractor and artist.
Put on by Thousand Islands Arts, the dry-stone walling event was a new addition to this year’s Victoria Day weekend fair.
With a theme of “celebrating contemporary and traditional heritage arts,” Miller said some of the mediums included were quilting, painting, knitting, silk screening and more.