The Book Stall
In the Company of Stone

In the Company of Stone
by Dan Snow
photographs by Peter Mauss

Artisan, 2001

Constructing walls and other structures from stone with no mortar or other binding material is an ancient drystone method with few modern-day practitioners.

On private estates in New England and Great Britain drystone walls, terraces, caverns and pools are still being built by "wallers" like Dan Snow of Dummerston, Vermont.

"For the purposes of a waller, stone is immortal. I work alone most of the time, gathering the stone myself for each job, either from a place of my own where loose stone lies naturally in abundance or from the property where I'm building," Snow explains.

"Finding stone, choosing it, and letting go of it are the three things a waller does. I'd miss any one of them too much if I asked someone else to do them for me. I may work by myself, but I'm not alone. I'm in the company of stone."

Snow is one of only a handful of Americans certified by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. He and his creations have been showcased in numerous publications, including This Old House, Garden Design, and American Nurseryman.

In this reflective survey of his work, Snow writes eloquently about the sources of his artistic expression and how it is applied to walling. Complemented by evocative photographs of his constructions by Peter Mauss,  the pieces look like ancient artifacts well-rooted in the landscape

Detailed construction techniques for Snow's projects are not provided in the text, but the "gallery" in the back of the book lists locations, dimensions, time spent on the work, stone sources, and methods of construction. 

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In the Company of Stone

Walling is my occupation and has been since 1976. It is also my preoccupation-when I'm not working, I like to think about it. Of the many good reasons to do this for a living-working outside, one that keeps bringing me back for more is walling's endless capacity to surprise.

The sky is full of clouds of intense variety, but before we can take a second look at them they've changed. Stones keep their shapes for so long, I don't have to wonder how they may someday change. For the purposes of a waller, stone is immortal. 

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