Dry Stone Canada Stone Festival. Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada.
In late September Canada’s dry stone wall association Dry Stone Canada returned to the location of their 2015 and 2018 festivals on Amherst Island, to hold their annual dry stone festival.
This years festival saw a large number of projects and workshops take place, with people from many different countries in attendance including DSWAI members Sunny Wieler and Ken Curran. The Stone Foundation were also invited to bring their annual symposium to join in the festivities which also added to the event.
There were a large number of workshops available at this years festival including: Stone carving workshops, Dry stone wall restoration workshop, Curved retaining wall workshop, dry stone seating area build, kids walling area and even a clay pizza oven build.
Bay side Seating Build.
Nestled in the grounds of The Lodge, overlooking the bay, the Bay side Seating area was to be a gift to the Lodge owner Molly who recently donated some land to Dry Stone Canada to build a dry stone interpretive/ training centre on the island.
The project led by Eric Landman, David F. Wilson and Sunny Wieler saw a number of experienced wallers construct a seating area that could be enjoyed by guests of The Lodge for years to come. The stone for the seating area was a combination mainly local stone. Pink granite blocks came from the old Amherst island ferry dock (currently under reconstruction.) Local Island stone was used for the feature panels and cope. The vertical wedged sections of wall was built using quarried stone.
Toronto based stonemason Jesse Bagelman donated a date stone as a centrepiece behind which a time capsule was placed.
Wall Restoration Workshop at Poplar Dell, Amherst Island
A number of Dry Stone Canada members led the restoration of one of the many historic walls on the island. A huge amount of wall was restored over the course of the festival.
Curved Retaining Wall Workshop
Led by Canadian waller Scott Young, participants got to work along side experienced wallers on a challenging section of curved retaining wall.
Pizza oven workshop
Dry Stone Canada was pleased to add a special workshop in the week leading up to the festival. Located at The Back Kitchen, (Amherst Island’s community restaurant and the culinary supplier for the festival), the pizza oven would become a permanent feature in the Back Kitchen. DSWAI member Ken Curran lead this project and as part of the workshop he also offered instruction on how to make hot-lime mortar.
Other activities included:
As part of the festival a beginner/intermediate carving workshop was also held in the grounds of The Lodge. The workshop was led by Danny Barber (Smith & Barber). Danny is a well respected carver and is based in Ottawa.
Scottish master craftsman Norman Haddow also led a small build outside the local school, building a dry stone school sign feature and Dry Stone Canada’s Doug Bell led the build in the Youth Waller Initiative area.
Thanks again to Dry Stone Canada and the people of Amherst Island for putting on a fantastic festival.
Check out Dry Stone Canada website https://drystonecanada.com/ for more info about their festivals.