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Dan Pearl

Awesome weekend at the Frontenac Biosphere office building a stone arch. I got a lot out of the hands-on work and instructor guidance. Picked up more priceless dry laid stone working knowledge and enjoyed the good nature of my fellow students. Keep up the good work DSWA of Canada and thanks for allowing your Southern neighbors in the USA join the fun!
p.s. JSR, please send me a members password for the DSWAC website.

Aaron P. Wallis

Hello John,
Our designers and landscape crews were fuelled this morning as we revealed our story and pictures of the workshop and from your portfolio. We’ve opened the box for more possibilities for our landscapes and we greatly appreciate your contribution. Thank you for the great weekend.

Aaron P. Wallis

Tom F.

Hi John,
Thanks again for course this weekend. The guys are still talking about it and I have spent some time just looking at it. I have looked through your book at the projects you have done. Very impressive! You are a very good teacher.
Take care

Jack Wilford

Dear Mr Shaw-Rimmington

You'll be interested in recent developments regarding the Town of Midland's
approval of the Midland Heritage Committee's recommendation to designate the
Drummond Wall as a heritage site. The developer then issued a formal
objection which was to lead to a meeting with the Ontario Conservation
Review Board. A settlement has been reached which was presented to Midland's
Council meeting of March 22(tonight) and is attached. Although the terms of
the settlement appear to be confidential, it was verbally reported by Town
Planner Wes Crown that the developer has agreed to redesign the plan of
subdivision at his own cost so as to leave the wall intact and its future
will be under the control of the Town of Midland. I will try to obtain a
copy of thus agreement, but it appears the news is good.

Jack W.

Mark Litherland

Is there a fee for the workshops or do you just need to be a member?


Hello! I just wanted to say thank you for the excellent pictures of dry stack round rocks. We have a gravel pit of about 160 acres and I never thought I could use them for my retaining walls/landscaping projects. You gave me some great ideas. I just hope my back can take it!!!
Heidi Upstate NY

Laura B

Hi Mary,
I been thinking about becoming a member for quite a while now. I want to keep developing my skills, so there's no better way than to become more involved. Just yesterday I was saying to Joe that the best way to learn to work with stone is just by doing it over and over, again and again. And ever since I got a taste of dry stone walling I've known that I want to try more.


I am the Secretary of the Yorkshire Dry Stone Walling Guild, your
interesting site was pointed out to me by one of your countrymen due over
here for a course in May. I think we should forge some links. Visit
www.ydswg.co.uk to see what we are about. Look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards Brian Wood

Brian T

Hi John, I was in your workshop at Northwest Landscape in Burnaby about a year ago. I am still collecting stone to rebuild my falling down retaining wall in my front yard. I am trying to do it as cheaply as possible because I have very little disposable income after my teenage twins are through. So far I have collected about 4 or 5 tons of salt and pepper granite, all free. Some was from walls and is random block shapes and sizes, some is more of an ashlar/thick veneer, and then I have about 300’ of coping. It is all about 4” thick, 1’ wide and ranges in length from 2’ to 6’. I now have an opportunity to get some reclaimed Arizona Sandstone, not quite free, but at $50 a pallet it is too cheap to pass up.
My question is, what will the grey granite and the brown sandstone look like together? Have you ever used stone in combination like that? I don’t want to spend the money and time and energy to haul it by hand if it won’t look good. I just can’t visualize it and can’t find any photos of the two together.

greg M.

Wow. Great information here. I like seeing the catalogue of older canadian walls. Are there any walls out east?

Earl Boyd

Good day to you John. I just wanted to let you know that We had a delightful time hosting the workshop for you here in Redwood City and love all the knowledge that you and John imparted to us not only about our own project but about other projects and concepts for using the dry stone wall method in all sorts of applications. There is something special in seeing that community of stone souls coming togehter in that beautiful wall that I get to look at everyday. Thanks and I look forward to more. Earl :-)

Rob A.

Hi, I've been visiting this website for a few years because I love dry laid
stone work, and you have the best photos on the Internet. I'd love to
attend one of your workshops, but between travel, hotels, workshop fee, and
now a passport to go to Canada (I'm in Michigan), it's just too much money
for something that is just a hobby.
Have you ever considered making a DVD with examples of well made walls and
construction techniques? I'd love to learn proper stone laying techniques
for the price of a DVD since I can't afford to come to Canada for training.

I've built a couple of stone retaining walls using round, glacial
fieldstone found locally, but I can't imagine how to build a durable,
freestanding wall with the same round rocks.

Thanks for a great website,


I had a blast at our workshop. The experience was extremely valuable for me, and you do such a great job of sharing your knowledge. I also loved the impromptu presentation of some of your work. It was a great wkend spending time with others who are passionate about stonework! I truly hope to run into you in the future!

Laurie Schofield

Hi John, It's not been 24 hours since the end of the workshop yesterday, and I can't get our wall out of my head! I had such a great time learning about dry stone walls and then actually helping to build the wall. I've long had an idea about using local stone to build a wall planted with California native plants. Your excellent workshop not only gave me the experience but also the courage to try it on my own. Now all I need is a place to try out my ideas! Thanks so much to you and to the other John for coming to the Bay Area and giving this class.



Congratulations on a Great site..I look forward to attending some of the events this year
Hope I can contribute with some pics of Quebec walls etc..I have spotted some along the Ottawa river on my travels that are worth a mention
Have a great winter

Mark G

Hello John; I attended the symposium with you in California. As stated
above my name is Mark Gienapp from gunnison Colorado. We visited a bit in
Caly and I am fascinated with your work. I would truly enjoy a workshop
with you and would really love to help with a bridge project. I also am
interested in the best books on stone walling and was hoping for some
suggestions. Anyway, I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to hearing from


Mark G

Norman Muir

John - Delighted to firm up our association. For our part we would welcome any of your members to join in any of our 2010 projects that fits with their travel agenda, etc. We shall keep in touch.
kind regards
Norman Muir
Chairman of the West of Scotland branch of the DSWA

Willa W

Hi John:
I was on my way to the airport when we dropped in and caught you and Eric at work.
I'll be watching the progress of the roof next spring and may try to do another article - I have some great shots of the lintel going up the poles for the back window.

Best of the season to you



For anyone following this discussion, the wall which is being referred to in the previous letters is posted on our website at http://www.dswa.ca/showcase/midland-ontario
Thanks Jack for bringing this matter to our attention.


jack W

Hello John

Those of us who are dedicated to retaining the Drummond Wall, including the
Midland Heritage Committee headed by Susan McKenzie, were very pleased to
note your email to Andrea Rabbitts in support of its retention, subsequent
to my request to you via the DSWA website.

I attended the Midland Council meeting of November 23 at which time a
resolution was passed to proceed with the Heritage Site designation process
after considerable debate. This is a very good outcome. Although it doesn't
guarantee future retention of the wall in all of its length, there is an
approval process which must be followed to make changes to it.

I took the opportunity this week to enter the site (which so far has not
been signed as "no trespassing") and took a series of photos of the complete
length, on both sides.

Thank you for your prompt and supportive reply.

Jack Wilford