Thursday, December 20, 2018


Is there such a thing as being too positive ? Too cheery ? 
There's no time like Christmas to find that out, I guess. 

I look at the photo of the snowy moon-gate we built at Sara's Garden and am reminded that the 'negative' space, created by the positive mass of dry laid stones, could be imagined intermittently, as either just a beautiful solid wall, with a Christmas tree decoration on a glass ball suspended in the foreground, or, seen (more likely) as a circular snowy positive opening with the tree in the background . Both perceptions give the whole thing a feeling of festive cheer. 

In essence, it looks like there could be an extension to the maxim "two negatives make a positive". I realize rather cheerily that a positive AND a negative can create a beautiful positive, as well.  Is that being too positive?

Wishing all you souls a Happy Solstice, and an open mind to the variety of wonderful experiences and opportunities that come your way over the holiday season.

 See you in 2019 !

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Foot in the Door

Sometimes the scope of a project is left undetermined. This can be, and often is, a mutual arrangement between client and artist. It is agreed the wall can go on and be built longer, later. More retaining walls and terraces can be 'talked' about in the future. 
Usually for me the first project is the dry stone 'foot in the door'. Not literally, of course. Good work begets more good work. 
But one day, if it there was the right setting for it, I think there could be an opportunity of putting a dry stone foot in the doorway somewhere. And then, of course, it could be gradually added to, in the future.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The wall stays

Farley is sitting in front of a wall we built over 14 years ago. No,Farley didn't build it. He wasn't there.

It was Steve Fraser and Matthew Ring who successfully completed their DSWA certification tests doing two separate sections on it, and then later I built another 20 feet connected the sections and finished off the west end of the wall.

A newly hired employee with the town, director of works,  drove by the day I was finishing up and told me the wall, though set well back from the road, was on town property and that it had to be taken it down.

The owner of the property went to the town and requested that it not have to be taken down, as for one thing,  it acted as barrier to keep his children safer in the front yard. (A car had the year before careened into the wire holding up the telephone pole on the front lawn where his children were playing) 

Also, there were many trees and other walls and fences much closer to the road that the town had not required to be taken down.

I found out that in that meeting the newly appointed town official put his foot down and said to the then council. "Either that wall goes or I go."

The town was in a funny position. Anyone who saw the wall loved it. Petitions were signed. Wallers from around the world wrote to try to save the wall. A publisher of a stone magazine wrote and asked that it be spared and added that if the town would be so silly to have it dismantled, he was going to come personally and do a story on it, as a way of exposing such a municipal folly.

The controversy of the wall went on in a kind of muted way for years. The people who owned the house were told they had to take out special insurance on it. Each new owner of the property still has to take on this cost.  

Suffice it to say, as you can see from this photo, the wall is still there and, I heard just recently that the town employee vacated his job. I looked it up and read yesterday on line in the archives of a local paper, that he left "without any explanation" in 2017.    

Saturday, December 8, 2018

O Holy Rewrite

Don’t hold them tight, 
The stones are partly frozen.
I’m not dressed right and I can’t find my glove.

Long days at work, my eyes are semi-closin’ 
I should go home, yet I haven't built enough. 

I'm filled with hope.
I've sent a few invoices.
I might get paid, for work I've done this year.

Waaall ---- on your knees !  
Don't make those achy noises.
Try-not, to whine, 
At least one glove is here.

Tonight I'll-freeeeeze !
It's minus nine!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Inside a Stone

The number of stones in a dry laid wall is finite.
However, it is impossible to count how many walls are contained in a single stone.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lives and Forks

Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I—
I imagined a dry stone 'fork' there.
And that has made all the difference.

(with apologies to Robert Frost)