Updated: Mar 1
There is something very special about creating a piece of art in stone to celebrate a loved ones life. Probably the most unique and moving example of this is the recently completed Kerry Landman Memorial.
The wall is situated at Island Lake Conservation Area on Hurontario Street South and is open to the public seven days a week. The Memorial Forest Trail runs through part of the conservation area and takes you through the ‘Dods and McNair Memorial Forest’ where the dry stone tree can be seen on the south side at a high point on the trail. While people have been encouraged to plant trees in memory of loved ones, Eric got permission from Dods and McNair and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to build a dry stone wall in memory of his wife Kerry instead.
This fantastic dry stone structure was build by Dry stone waller Eric Landman with the help of his eldest son Jordan, as well as many other friends and family, to commemorate the life of his beloved wife who sadly passed away last year. I cannot think of a more fitting and beautiful way to commemorate the life of a loved one than by getting together with friends and family and building a piece of stone art together in their honour. All those involved found working on the project a great help with dealing with their grief as well as showing their love for a wonderful lady.
Ironically, it was actually Kerry who helped give Eric his dry stone walling start. For many years, the family had a dairy farm in Grand Valley, and Kerry operated Brewed Awakenings coffee shop after buying it in 2004.One day Kerry asked a regular customer at the coffee shop, Greg Wildeboer, owner of Whispering Pines Landscaping, if he needed anybody to work for him. At first, Wildeboer was unsure, until finding out it was Eric she was talking about. “She came home and told me I had a job. I said, ‘I don’t need a job.’ She said, ‘You need a change’,” Eric said, noting he enjoyed landscaping at home. “(Wildeboer) just got me into doing odd jobs for them.”
That work piqued Eric’s interest in the trade. He learned more about the Dry Stone Walling Across Canada, formerly the Dry Stone Wall Association of Canada, began taking courses and things took off from there. Since then he has done numerous walls, water features, and structures. He also has participated in festivals with the DSWAC building various structures, including the Black house on his home farm. As of 2010 Eric became the field director of the DSWAC. He is now working full time dry stone walling and continues to farm in his spare time.
Photos above of the Kerry Landman Memorial courtesy of Eric Landman
While the main wall is made of Limestone, Eric used local rounded granite fieldstones that were found on site to represent the leaves. A lot of them had green moss on them that added to the effect of the stones looking like foliage.
Another sculptural stone memorial I was very moved by is this piece by Australian sculptor Peter Schipperheyn titled “Asleep” Located at Mt Macedon Cemetery, Mt Macedon, Victoria, Australia.
According to Peter, this sculpure came about as a result of knowing a remarkable individual who in many ways changed his life. In 1981 I he met an extraordinary individual: Laurie Matheson, who purchased the largest work I Peter had made by that stage. From here Peter went on to make Mr Matheson a number of other sculptures, and in the process develop a close relationship with him.
Sadly some years later Laurie became ill and passed away.
Following his death in 1987 Peter was asked by Laurie Matheson’s widow Christina to carve a figure called “Asleep” in Carrara marble as his gravestone.
The sculpture depicts Christina laying on her husband’s grave. This wonderful sculpture is the perfect embodiment of one’s deepest emotions after the passing away of a loved one, to be there with them, to desperately hold on and to never let go.
This is a stone bench I made for a guy in Limerick who asked me to build him a stone bench with the words ‘true love is set in stone’ engraved in it. Built from local field limestone, the bench was a gift for his wife, as an expression of his love. Very sweet.