Listening to Stone

Listening to Stone

Book - 2008
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A master craftsman provides us with the timeless wisdom he has gained from heaving and hewing stone.

In his highly anticipated second book, Vermonter Dan Snow once again proves that he is not just one of America's premier artisans, but also one of our most articulate voices on the natural world and our relationship to it. Snow's medium is stone: He is the nation's premier drystone wall builder. Schooled in this ancient craft, he painstakingly creates structures as breathtaking as sculpture with nothing but gravity as their glue. In Listening to Stone , Peter Mauss's tactile photographs of Snow's artistry are matched by the artisan's quietly compelling prose.

In a voice as expressive as Annie Dillard's and as informed as John McPhee's, Snow demonstrates astonishing range as he touches on such subjects as geology, philosophy, and community. We learn that stone's grace comes from its unique characteristics--its capacity to give, its surprising fluidity, its ability to demand respect, and its role as a steadying force in nature. In these fast-paced times, Snow's life's work offers an antidote: the luxury of patience, the bounty and quietude of nature, the satisfaction of sweat. "I work with stone," he ultimately tells us, "because stone is so much work."
Publisher: New York, NY :, Artisan,, 2008
ISBN: 9781579653712
Branch Call Number: ANF 779.36 SNO
ANF 779.36 SNO
Characteristics: xiii, 145 pages : illustrations (some colour), map ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Mauss, Peter

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Jul 04, 2011

If you love rocks, you’ll enjoy looking at the photographs of the dry stone (no mortar) structures the author builds. I especially enjoyed learning about the unique dry stone walls in Ireland’s Aran Islands; the rocks were piled helter skelter at all angles with frequent open spaces without using any mortar and yet they’ve survived since the 18th century.
However, if, as the book cover promises, you're hoping for a bit more philosophy mixed in with the discussion of tools and techniques for handling rocks, then you will probably be disappointed. A better book for that is "The Work of Craft, An Inquiry into the Nature of Crafts and Craftsmanship" by Carla Needleman. She writes of being a potter but her reflections on work, the lessons of failure, the temptation to stay with the familiar, etc. are as applicable to writers and businesspeople as to artists of all kinds.

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