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B and K

Kathy & I enjoyed the S F workshop immensely. You and John are great
instructors and we're glad to see that traditional techniques are still
being kept alive and passed on today.
We're sure to include stone walls in our new house.
Bill and Kathy

Daniel G. Ostrum

I really enjoyed the workshop in Landon Bay over Thanksgiving weekend! I learned a great deal not only by hands on walling but also by watching and listening. My three teachers, Michael Weitzner of Vermont, Norman Haddow of Scotland, and Patric McFee of Ireland were superb. If I were to describe in one word what impressed me about each one, I would say Michael was precise, Norman was bold and Patric was very clever---a great combination!
I also attended the Dry Stone Conservancy in eastern PA. the other weekend and helped rebuild a wall with Neil Rippinggale that had been originally built by slaves. Wonderful people. I am now working on my own project pitching a walkway underneath an arbor of wisteria 10 ft. wide and 100ft. long, similar to the look of the walk over the arched bridge built with you all in Canada. I loved attending both workshops and would like to go next year especially yours John Shaw-Rimmington! Thanks again and hope to see you all again soon.

Rod Keays

Are any courses planned for BC in 2011? I attended the Shawnigan Lake arch building course and enjoyed it very much.

Linda Hart

I was asked for feedback on the economic impact of this event to our business. I did not participate in any way that was meant to generate money but I do have a couple of comments on the social impact.

The DSW festival was a wonderful community building event. The good spirit of the participants, John and Mary Shaw-Rimmington's fabulous energy, and the purpose-driven activity of the walls and bridge, all created an amazingly positive, upbeat environment in our community.

I had the good fortune of putting up the three master craftsmen from Britain, and I enjoyed meeting them so much that it is likely I will go and visit them in their respective countries. It must be something about working with stone that creates these wonderful people. Way better than drugs and booze! The spirit left behind by all the participants had those of us who were involved, meeting for days after they left to try to keep it alive. And we weren't the only ones effected. The wallers I talked to, felt they had come to a magic place, and many joked about not going home.

We are currently living in an age where people don't know their neighbours, and community activities are now few and far between. Each individual or family is busy trying to get by, and the feeling of support and connection that comes from belonging to something larger has fallen by the way. For those of us involved in this Festival, it was like taking a step forward to a place where that interconnectivity exists again, and we have the spirit of this Festival to thank for this.

Thanksgiving weekend is a challenge for anyone attached to a family. I didn't see one person at this festival who couldn't have taken the extra day off work to be able to participate, and many more could have come if it wasn't on a holiday weekend. Having said that, everything was such a success that it is difficult to even think of suggestions!

So, how can we get them back here? How can ROCKport become a centre for DSW activity in the Province? How can this thing grow? Public land is a great idea. We have a lot of Parks around here. How can we at least make it an annual event? Something that will both put Rockport on the map and allow John Shaw-Rimmington to expand his magical activities. Easy for me to say who only changed beds, bought a fridge-load of food and won't attend meetings!

So there you have it.Two cents from the cheap seats.

Lind Hart

Patrick McAfee

It was a real pleasure to be part of Rocktoberfest 2010. John and Mary organized a super event with live music, good food and an opportunity to work with great people. The people of Rockport were the most hospitable of communities.
The dry stone bridge was a winner on many levels and is an example of how to build near water without causing any damage to the local ecology. Compared to a concrete and steel bridge with inevitable cement spills into water and the killing of fish etc this was an example of near zero impact, minimum carbon footprint and sustainability into the next century. It is also good to look at.
So congratulations John and Mary for on a job well done and an unforgettable event.


We had many comments about last months Rocktoberfest. Here are some of them...

I was there yesterday and it looks wonderful with all the fallen leaves on it. - Linda H

What an amazing weekend. Here are some pics for you (courtesy of Rayne) and a little treat at the end. Thanks for such a great time, I got to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Could I get Gavin's contact info from you? I'd like to keep in touch with him too. I remember when we were talking on our way to Balsam Lake, and you were saying you'd like to recreate a certain sense of family you experienced at other festivals....well, I think you've done that and more. It was an absolute treat. Thanks again - Menno B

Thanks all around for a great weekend of walling and stone work solidarity! It was exactly what I was hoping for; my only regret was not being able to stick around Monday to see the form drop.- Charley M

With my head still full of Canada and the fantastic Rocktoberfest event in Rockport I now try to adapt to things here. It was a top class event and I wish you continuing returns on this.Thanks for coming up with a super project in a super place with music and food and camaraderie. It was a big success. - Patrick M
Congratulations on what seems to have been an extremely successfully Rocktoberfest. I wish I could have afforded to come, would have loved to take part in it. -Tomas L.

I wandered to the bridge, Mary, ("Maggie"...do you know that old dittie), and seeing it completed was wonderful. Only the sound of the birds and the water rippling by, it is truly a work of art. Congratulations to all the hard work, many people are phoning and emailing to mention how they enjoyed the weekend and love the work that remains. - Margot M.

I think you can rest knowing that your bridge is so awesome that the only criticism can find is that people were drawn from far far away to build it and then returned that distance with full hearts.- John Scott

Just a short note to let you know how great the bridge @landon bay looks (esp. in that sepia photo from your blog). Scott C
Hi John, We both had a wonderful day. What you're doing is marvelous. - Fred C

Well done. Looks amazing! - Jason M

Thank you very, very much for setting up a most interesting, inspiring and enjoyable weekend and for inviting me to be a part of it! Michael W.

I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the recent dry stone Thanksgiving gathering in the small town or Rockport. Although looking back, the first event in Port Hope was a modest event it has grown steadily over the last 7 years, yet lost nothing of the warmth and kind hospitality which has marked it out since the start. Thanks once again to John Shaw-Rimmington, his wife Mary and a large band of dedicated helpers. Norman H.


For a look at our finished blackhouse go to http://drystonewallingcanada.blogspot.com/2010/07/here-is-photo-of-finis...


Are there any photos available of the finished black house on Dean Mc Clleland's property in Holstein that we worked on in June of 2009.
Dwain Wacko


Congrats on what looks like a fabulous weekend. Wish I could be with you.
Relocating to Ottawa with family. Look forward to getting reinvolved in
near future.

Karl kaufmann

Hi John,
I should stop by the site more often. The upcoming stone fest in Ontario is only 6.5 hours from me. Don't think I can swing the time off though. Maybe if I'm lucky I can swing a couple day trip up to see you.


Dan O'Connell

I just completed the dry wall in Metchosin using local blasted basalt . This "rubble" has vexed me for years and I considered it useless unless equal amounts of mortar were available to beautify and substantiate any structure composed of it . The mortar always cracks and grey stone looks dreary in the dun winter landscapes of our coast so I considered it "flawed" and would go far afield to find flat character stone. Needless to say I am reborn with fervor based on three base teachings. One - putting the best face out usually results in "veneering" guaranteeing it will roll out with the subtle shifts of time. This wall now has structural integrity confidant enough to support an arch! (As a former civil engineer I was a big time skeptic let alone now being a physician and worried about crushed children) Two - it is handsome ,not in the way of the fitted stones @ Machu Pichu,but rather overall feel as it courses and accomadates the rolling pitches with its unchanging batter and constancy of individual rock shadowings.(however one cornerstone in the arch is hewn white granite from my private reserve) . Thirdly - I had been told by my Italian neighbour about harding before but thought it was a primitive idea for people needing to get rid of all the little ankle turners in the pile-I say it again I am now a Believer! Dr. Dan


Hi John, just wanted to thank you for the greatest course ever in Metchosin! I enjoyed
it so much and got started on my latest project at home already - with so
much more confidence. You are a great teacher! It was great to meet you
and look forward to seeing you at some stone events. (maybe on Gabriola) I have some pictures to send of the course but I think I need a email



Hi, just to let you know if you are ever looking for a venue for a course,
I have tons of rock and would love to have a dryrock wall built. Just let
me know. Thanks Laurie


beautiful job on the outdoor fireplace

Doug J

Many thanks. I received a congrats about winning the photo contest in email from someone on holidays out west - People are regularly checking your very attractive website

Doug Jamieson


Hello, John.

Thanks for your words and inspiration during wall-building workshop last weekend at the Chrystian farm. I've come away with perhaps equal doses of inspiration and humility: not sure which will win out. I see you posted photos and words about the wall and the oven (those two chickens in the photo with Bob and the new oven should likely give that oven a wider berth...)
Thanks again, John.


Thank you again for all I was able to learn from you. I had a great time, and I can't wait to start walling on my own.

Matt ( East Lansing, Mich.)

Laura B


Last year I built a small section of a limestone garden wall with the intention of making it look like it had fallen into disrepair. It was someone else's design idea and I'm still not sure I made it work (in restrospect I wish I'd done things a bit differently but it meant design changes), but my point is that I liked working on it as an exercise. It was so interesting and it forced me to think about the logic of building a wall so that in its fallen down state it looked authentic (assuming it was built properly in the first place of course).

Anyway, another good walling weekend was had by Joe and I in Grand Valley this past long weekend. The Landman's have both a lovely property as well as a lovely family, very friendly and welcoming. As usual coming home all we wanted to do is continue on with the next project. I quite liked working with the chocolate limestone. Really nice stuff to work with. Funny how all the different stones, depending on where they came from have their own characteristics just like people. You have to get to know them and treat them accordingly.

My next plan is to begin working on a wall ( both Joe and I) using stone we reclaimed from a barn foundation last Spring. Unforntunately we didn't manage to get more before the powers that be "got rid of it all". Such a shame. There were two barn foundations on two adjacent properties. The one had big beautiful, huge cut granite field stones. All gone.

Well again, thanks to you and Eric for a good weekend. Looking forward to Rocktoberfest. I HOPE I can get there this year. Sounds great.

Jill S-B

We thoroughly enjoyed our week-end with you at the Landman farm. Your passion for DSW is infectious and we can hardly wait to begin our own project. It will be a vegetable garden enclosure using stones from area
fence lines. Enjoy your summer. The bridge at Gananoque sounds
intriguing, Best wishes, Jill and Dave


Mary, We are trying to sign our daughter, Kaitlyn, up as a member but can't get in to the Membership Information page. Can you help us? It says "access denied". Thanks. Regards, Jill and Dave