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Wilton's Weir Farm Hosts Stone Wall Workshop

A master craftsman will lead a hands-on workshop on restoring stone walls.
A master craftsman will lead a hands-on workshop on restoring stone walls. Photo Credit: Weir Farm National Historic Site
The stone walls at Weir Farm National Historic Site are built without any mortar.
The stone walls at Weir Farm National Historic Site are built without any mortar. Photo Credit: Weir Farm National Historic Site

WILTON/RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Want to get your hands dirty while learning about history? Weir Farm National Historic Site will host a two-day hands-on stone wall workshop with master craftsman in partnership with the Dry Stone Conservancy.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, and Sunday, Oct. 19, at the National Park Site in Ridgefield and Wilton.

The workshop will be led by master craftsman Neil Rippingale of Dry Stone Conservancy, the only nonprofit organization in the country devoted to the preservation of historic dry stone masonry, with assistance from Greg Waters, the park’s natural and cultural resources manager.

Rippingale has traveled the world building stone walls and is an engaging and informative instructor in dry stone wall building, restoration and repair. Waters has been leading stone wall workshops at Weir Farm for over a decade.

The workshop will be a hands-on training event where participants learn the craft while contributing to our nation’s dry stone heritage of building enduring stone structures without the use of mortar. The workshop is designed for enthusiasts and masons with little to no previous dry stone experience who would like to gain a basic understanding of this craft. The pace will be comfortable as participants learn the fundamental skills needed to repair and restore dry stone walls using native stone.

The workshop includes a brief classroom introduction to the “four basic principles and five golden rules” of dry stone construction followed by hands-on instruction for the remainder of the time.

All participants will receive a copy of the conservancy’s training manual "Building and Repairing Dry Stone Fences & Retaining Walls."

The workshop is limited to 12 participants, and advance registration is required by contacting Dry Stone Conservancy at 859-266-4807 for a registration form.

The fee for the two day workshop is $200; a deposit of $100 is required to guarantee your spot. To register and learn more about the Dry Stone Conservancy go to www.drystone.org .

Participants should bring work gloves, sturdy footwear and clothing that is appropriate for outdoor work, a water bottle and a brown bag lunch. Drinking water will be provided.

Weir Farm National Historic Site, the only National Park Service site dedicated to American painting, was home to three generations of artists, including Julian Alden Weir. For more information about Weir Farm National Historic Site or the National Park Service, visit www.nps.gov/wefa or call 203-834-1896.

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