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Building a Dry Stone Wall

September 28, 2019 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Berkshire Botanical Garden

Dress for outdoor work and bring safety glasses, heavy gloves, sturdy, waterproof footwear and a bag lunch.

Join stonemason artist Mark Mendel for a hands-on program covering the basics of dry stone wall building, including planning, layout, and demonstrations on cutting and fitting. The morning will consist of a lecture, a walk through the garden to view a variety of stone walls, and site preparation. Students will learn how to set up a batter frame and cut stone, and will practice laying stones to create structural integrity through interlocking placement. Following the demonstrations, students will work on a dry stone wall and practice wall-building. The workshop will pay special attention to building a freestanding wall using field stone.

Artist Mark Mendel began his stone apprenticeship with two Maine stonemasons 50 years ago this summer. He has taught at the Haystack School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine. He started Monterey Masonry in 1982 and has built scores of walls, arches, terraces and walks, as well as hundreds of fireplaces in both brick and stone. Locally, his work includes the stone walls in front of Guido’s Marketplace in Great Barrington, and the stone walls at the entrance to Berkshire School in Sheffield. He designed, built and donated the stone spinning fan in the Berkshire Botanical Garden rose garden. Working as a stone consultant for Cuningham Group Architects of Minneapolis, Mendel was part of the design team that received the 2012 Tucker Design Award, a biennial award presented by the Building Stone Institute. The Tucker award is the most prestigious national design award given in the stone industry. In 2014, the Providence Zen Center in Cumberland, RI unveiled a glass and stone memorial to its founder, Seung Sung, designed and built by Mark. From 1977-1983, Mark was a research fellow at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in Cambridge. His recent work has been exhibited at the ZKM in Karlsruhe Germany, 2017 and the MIT Museum in Cambridge, 2018.  His work is currently being exhibited in the Sculpture Now show at The Mount in Lenox. Mark is developing a large new outdoor work of stone, glass, light, and music for Mass MoCA in North Adams. Learn more about Mark's work at

Advance registration is highly recommended, but walk-ins are always welcome, space permitting.

Withdrawals: To withdraw your registration from a class, please contact us as soon as possible so we can make your space available to others. If you give us at least 7 days’ notice prior to the event, we will refund you less an administrative fee equaling 25% of the program cost.
Please note: we cannot offer refunds for withdrawals less than 7 days before a class.

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