Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Monday, June 24, 2019
We completed our bee bowle structure yesterday. The bees in the ‘skep’ you see in the niche on the right , loved it. The bees on the right have not arrived yet.
The entire project including a lovely set of stone stairs, a large retaining wall, a tree well, an access ramp, several niches, bee sculpture and other carvings was created by the friendly gathering of dry stone enthusiasts and professional instructors you see here.
Friday, June 21, 2019
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Hubert Seidel has been building with hundreds of tons of reclaimed stone over the last dozen years. His property near Krem Austria is a delight to visit. Arches niches sculpture aqueducts seating areas ponds, and much more are there to be discovered, and enjoyed. I need to devote another page to his work tomorrow.
Monday, June 17, 2019
It occurred to me on a recent job we were doing, that horizontally laid stones in a coursed retaining wall with ‘vertically’ laid backing would be actually much stronger than having both back and front stones conventionally laid horizontally. I’ve asked a colleague, and he agrees.
The upright stones at the back are much tighter, they can’t sheer/slide the way they would be prone to if laid flat, and they are much easier to fit in place than trying to lay them level.
So that’s going to be the way we do it from now on.
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Why are we so concerned about the cracks. We are always trying to get rid of them, or at least make them smaller . We have the sense that the crack represents failure. We don’t like the way cracks make something look old, and therefore kind of useless. We think, if there were no cracks everything would be okay.
But cracks are here to stay. In fact they are kind of okay! Sure, some big ones might need to be seen to but there is often no need to try to make the smaller ones smaller. There is definitely no need to try to glue everything together so there are no cracks.
In a dry stone wall it’s the pattern of cracks that allows the thing to stay connected.
Something that doesn’t have any cracks, or can’t crack, can end up breaking, and that, is a very different thing.
Cracks in a way, are what keeps things together.
Cracks allow for movement while keeping the context of overall shape.
Cracks allow for renewed tightness between the whole.
If we aim for tightness it means the thing will have to have joints.
If there are no cracks there is only static resistance. Nothing grips. A thing that can’t crack can only shatter. We need to get a grip on the fact that it is the humble crack allows for us and everything else to stay on target.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
With so many hands-free devices at our finger tips, all this handy technologically designed to keep us safe, makes it hard to find things for our hands to do that involve the possibility of getting them scratched or pinched. Luckily there is still the activity of building with stones.
Maybe the old expression - it’s all fun till someone gets hurt - should be changed to, it’s not that much fun if there’s no risk of getting hurt. Anyway apart from a few scratches, we had a bang up time building with about 40 tons of this pile of very odd shaped chunks of random granite, even though it was pretty challenging to try to build ‘vertically’.
It comes in such a lovely variety of pastel shades. Well actually, it comes in trucks from a quarry an hour north of Salzburg.
Thanks to Pflastermeister Ing. ( Mario and Carola Tomasek) for the opportunity to present a different spin on the craft of building in the dry stone method, for the hand full of students here in Schwanenstadt, Austria. More photos to come.
Friday, June 14, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Sunday, June 9, 2019
Friday, June 7, 2019
Our two day ‘Hide-a-porta-potty-with-a-dry-stone-wall workshop’was held last weekend. It went well. And now the portable toilet is well hid. No, it wasn’t right there, being used while we built the wall!
Anyway, the upper third of the wall was completed later by Mark and me . It’s over 8 feet high and hides a lot of shitty plastic.
I really don’t know why you don’t see a lot more dry stone partition walls like this, or maybe I should say, I don’t know why we can’t start to see a lot fewer of these ugly toilets at outdoor venues everywhere ?
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Thursday, May 30, 2019
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Friday, May 24, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Sunday, May 19, 2019
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Friday, May 17, 2019
All over the world, unimaginably huge amounts of natural stone are blasted out of our planet and busted up into chunks and dragged kicking and screaming to the cement factories to be made into cement.
Perfectly good stones for building with, are taken for their last ride up to the massive rock eating machines, that turn them into powder, to make endless manufactured concrete products
Tomorrow, let's look at some of the more natural, less destructive, less carbon-emitting, less fuel-consumptive, less mind-numbingly polluting things, that could have been done with these rocks.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Stone is the medium most able to experience us !
We are it’s ‘other’.
And yet the solid non-ego consciousness of stone remains impervious to the mindless barrier ‘other’ materials pose to our meeting.
It looks for us. It reaches out to touch us.
We are strangely mindful of this, and as we touch it and work with it, we say we ‘know’ the stone, and trust that it knows us.
Stone is only able to be known of us, because we have already been known of it.
If we experience it and are touched by its essence, it is because we are experienced by the stone.
And in time, some of that experience may be given to us.
The question ‘Are you experienced’ has less to do with any skill or knowledge we’ve acquired and much more to do with appreciating that wonderful something, beyond us, experiencing us.
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Friday, May 10, 2019
To make Peace takes a lot of creativity , a lot of initiative,
A lot of new incentive,
It takes a lot of beginner stuff, pure hopeful unsullied enthusiasm and ...
It takes people who may not believe it can't be done.
It takes beginners .
Professional people often have only bad experiences to go on, they just seem to know how to make war .
They think to solve aggression they need to be professional.
The peacemakers- the bridge builders build a sense of connectedness between human beings, between us and nature between our small place in the cosmos and the rest of the cosmos.
These bridge builders are all beginners .
A bridge likes this gives me hope, and I hope it gives others hope .
Make bridges not WAR
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Removing the wooden form (the former) out from under the bridge is not unlike taking the training wheels off a child’s bicycle.
For a certain length of time, some sort of support is needed , but then, in a moment of time, that dependence suddenly disappears. That which was there has served its purpose.
The bridge, and the child, have discovered how to stay upright on their own.
The magic happens, and then it’s all just water under the bridge.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019
Photo by Franklin Smith
The experience of the last five days felt a bit like the dry stone equivalent of a major musical performance. I had been invited to come to Asheville to conduct members of a guest orchestra . The stone/musicians had not seen the music before but sight read and performed the ‘bridge piece’ perfectly. Bravo orchestra !
Monday, May 6, 2019
Sunday, May 5, 2019
Saturday, May 4, 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
We are all students, oft times, travelling over bridges we haven't made yet. The knowledge of what is known, and not known, passes both ways. We start from a place where we overlook the obvious and cross over to where we begin to understand the intuitive - all the time never, blocking the flow of continuity - but simply accommodating the course of nature . The stones are strong supporters of such multi-layered education. The universe is the place where all matter, and all that matters, is (are?) compressed into the arc of enlightenment .
Thursday, May 2, 2019
The dimensions for the centring, which will support our next dry stone bridge, have been carefully worked out, and the lines where it will be going, are shown here in green. It will be built by seven students in the next five days.
May 1st. What a lovely setting. You can just see Nels standing where we are going to be building the bridge this week.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Is the thing you created based on something original?
The answer must be ‘Yes’
Since it is either, something you just made up,
or just a copy, (unbeknownst to you, perhaps)
of what had previously existed.
That’s because the word ‘original’ can mean
‘What was there from before’
‘Something entirely new’
Saturday, April 20, 2019
It's a pity these are not big stones, rather than concrete. Big stones love to be moved, just as much as the small ones. Big stones love to be shaped too. Sometimes they have to be shaped into spheres in order to get them where they need to be. When they get there, they can be shaped again into big cubes or large steps or huge standing stones like the Ring of Brodgar in Scotland. How else could they have got them there?