I was very fortunate to get to do a bit of a North American stone tour this Autumn, starting off with a return to the Dry Stone Canada, stone festival on Amherst Island.
Dry Stone Festival, Amherst Island, Canada
The festival was hosted on the island by Topsy Farms. Topsy Farms is a long established sheep farm well known for their quality sheep, wool, and wool products.
Using stone collected from the property, we built a 120 foot mixed granite/limestone wall near the barn, along the entrance to the farm. Danny Barber led a carving workshop with 12 students, and Norman Haddow led a small group walling workshop to restore one of Amherst Island’s historic Irish settler walls. (Left: 120ft by 5 ft high field stone wall built during the festival)
The theme of the festival was ‘Farm to Table/Stone to Wall’ which celebrates the roots of dry stone walling: building walls to support farming. The theme highlights the interconnection between local food and farmers and dry stone walling craft and tradition.
Festivals bring together our walling community to build a unique feature, which remains as a gift to the host community.
After the festival I spent some time with my good friend Eric Landman, touring some of his work sites as well as some projects by some other great dry stone artists in the area. Unfortunately many of these great projects are top secret and no photos allowed but below are some of the wonderful dry stone projects by some of the many talented dry stone artists in Canada.
After a wonderful time in Canada I headed on too my next stone festival in the company of Dry Stone Canada member and fellow Stone Foundation Member Doug Bell to speak at the Stone Foundation Stone Symposium in Ventura California.
Having been a member of the Stone Foundation for many years it was wonderful to finally get to one of their Symposiums as most of the symposiums are held in the United States.
The symposium was a mix of fascinating talks, cairn building, stone carving demonstrations and the wonderful and wacky LITHIC OLYMPIC GAMES.
And what better way to finish my tour, that with a afternoon fossil hunting on a beach in Santa Barbra and watching the Californian sun plop down over the horizon for one last show.