Saturday, December 11, 2010

Journey with the Stone Wall

                                                                                                                                                          an update...


Looking down the finished staircase at the very back of the small north sideyard 
..but before this happened......  much manual labor...

*warning*...  it is rather long.... with lots of pictures because I  love stone... and the process of creating... ...they click to enlarge..




 They previously resided in the backyard of a large, to-be demolished very old structure in the center of the village about a km. away.  Well... we simply hate to see durable, natural materials go to waste and the owner agreed to us carting them off... so the journey for these stones began a new life.




The weight of the stones dictated that John could move only a small number of them in each trailer load, so as not to break it, as we had done one other time in our excitement to bring something home that was being thrown away... 
Trip after trip, he made... up and down the street, till he had lugged enough back to do the job.




...then figuring out the staircase ...digging and manipulating...
an exercise in which rock goes where first... 




...shovels full of gravel behind them for extra drainage...



..initial shaping and placing .............   and with the rock borders




I like it... no...   really... I love it!!! ... it's fun.
the stone steps are about 2' wide,
but it's the staircase to nowhere just yet... 



...finished and looking out towards the road...




 and back again... we plan on shaping the soil above the wall next spring...




this side is about done...


Then....  across the back and around the bend...





curving up to the left side corner of the deck...




... a  just right size deck...  




and curving down again...



Time to put these tools away.

.

33 comments:

Dyche Designs said...

Wow, a lot of work but it looks amazing.

Steven Cain said...

Jesus! Look at John, getting midieval with the stone work! Sweet! I love it! The stair is perfect! That stone is beautiful... looks like it would be a treat to work with. Oh, and thanks Gwen, for mentioning the ply and stick... wouldn't have noticed otherwise.

George said...

Wow, Gwen! I think you guys could have given advice to the Romans.

alaine@éclectique said...

How does he move those huge slabs? Do you have a nice, hot tub waiting for him at the end of the day? It's looking great!

Oldfool said...

The stairway is magic. It does not matter if it goes anywhere or not.

Valerianna said...

Beautiful... ! It reminds me of the curving staircases from terrace to terrace in Greece, lovely.

rachel said...

As always, a labour of love with beautiful results.....

Ruth said...

Smiling at George. :)

You've really make the stones live. I can hardly wait to see it after a season of vegetative growth. The stairs and windings are just beautiful.

Gail said...

I love stones...I use them everywhere.

A very wonderful artistic stairwell.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Kathryn, yes a lot of work, and does it ever feel good now that it is done... it's as if there are many more hours in each day.

Stephen, no, you wouldn't have noticed them, really.. haha.. funny.. John liked your comments! Thanks! the stones are recycled from an old stone garden wall built in the 50's that previously were an old foundation as still some mortar remained in strange places ..

George, if a few Romans had showed up to assist, we would have gladly poured them each a few mugs of grog.

Alaine, pure brute strength!!! Thanks!

OF... That is how I felt when I saw it, too. I ran up and down too many times, just because.

Valerianna, they must have been beautiful, the places you have seen.

Rachel, this is one task that I do believe John would be willing to do for pay.. oh of course as long as he had complete freedom..

Ruth, it is going to be such a different summer next year.. I think we will feel as if we are living someone elses life.

Gail, almost free, durable and beautiful are their best qualities.

Guillaume said...

For some reason, I love the look of that wall. Oh, and I sort of blogged about you:

http://vraiefiction.blogspot.com/2010/12/spinning-wheel.html

Owen said...

I think putting this post together was as intricate as the laying of stones for the steps and wall, and the cutting of timber for the deck ! I'm sure it is all going to be gorgeous when finished and lived in for a while...

herhimnbryn said...

Oh, that's stunning. I do like the look and texture of a dry stone wall.

liZZie said...

I particularly love the stone staircase and I would certainly give John the job ~ plenty of stone just waiting! I also liked seeing some of your animals. I have one cat in particular that oversees most of what I do. I'm so pleased everything has taken shape so ~ truly lovely.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Guillaume, I took a peek and it is lovely... I am glad you like simplicity... Thank you!

Owen, everything has its own steps and stages don't they.. now we have to shift gears for the slow time of year.. takes getting used to.

herhimnbryn, Thanks, me too.. funny how a pile of rocks can make one feel good..

Lizzie, Thanks Lizzie.. our silly dogs are quite the supervisors.. mostly of the neighbors cats though...

...louciao... said...

I was expecting to catch a glimpse of Mick and Keith here, but watching John haul and place stones with your running commentary is nearly as good. It's fun to watch the development of this wonderful studio shop, made even more so by having visited it in person.

Come on, Gwen, slow down...take a few deep relaxing breaths. You can do it. It doesn't really feel like it, but winter time is here.

Kelly @ JAX does design said...

Wow. My muscles hurt just thinking about the work it took to move all those stones from their old home and position them all in your yard! But worth all the effort, because the wall and stairs look fantastic!

Gwen Buchanan said...

hey Louciao what was I talking about it is the Christmas season ready or not who gets a chance to slow down now!?!?

Hi Kelly, Thanks we are really enjoying looking at them and climbing them instead of moving them around.. where did all this time come from??

Angela Recada said...

What a gorgeous stone wall - and I absolutely love the curved steps! Wishing you Happy Holidays and all the best in 2011.

layers said...

looks like a labor of love and much work-- but the final stone will be sweet accomplishment.

Deborah Carr said...

Not only an artist, but a carpenter and stonemason...these stones have a new history, new stories to tell now.

I hope there are many hot baths and back rubs in John's future this winter.

flutietootie said...

Nice. I really like the way it is turning out. I am sure when you add the deck and everything is complete. it will look just marvelous.

simply blue said...

Hello Gwen!
I was just reading your posting about the angel...everything you do is so interesting and I am fascinated with the subject of angels....so thank you.
The stone wall is really looking beautiful...what a lot of work! I imagine it's buried in some snow right now....
Happy holidays to you!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Angela, Donna, and flutietootie, the final stone will be the best of all. and we will celebrate that day.

Deborah, We love that they will live on, serve another purpose and give daily pleasure in their new long life.... a bit of rearranging of the earth's crust.

Thank you, simply blue, so sweet of you. This year has been a mild one and we still have no snow... but "more" rain is in the forecast. the Best of the season to you!

acornmoon said...

Very impressive workmanship, He must be a very strong man!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Same to you Valerie, ... the best with your new book.

Joanna said...

Wow--what an incredible amount of work, and what a beautiful result. Those stairs are like a secret gift. Inspiring to see how you've used these materials.

pRiyA said...

Dear Gwen,
I wanted to read this post without the distractions of an exhibition so I came back to it now. It is pretty amazing what you and John have accomplished. I assumed work like this was usually done by at least a dozen people but you both have done it entirely on your own.

I love the details you've included like filling in the spaces with gravel for drainage - just like we do for potted plants! I love the different shades of grays, pinks and muted greens of the stones.

Maybe, just maybe one day I will climb along these stairs when I come to visit you in your studio.

I wish you and your family the best New Year ever.

With love,
Priya

liZZie said...

Thank you Gwen for your recent comments, also, I have just received a set of Micron pens through the post because of your recommendation and your own results. I wish you all success, health and happiness for the new year ♥

Gwen Buchanan said...

Joanna, So far, so good... Thanks, looking forward to only a few smaller projects in 2011... going to feel very different. Hope it keeps our minds occupied enough.

Priya, Your exhibition was so beautiful.. You must have had a great response to it.. I know I really enjoyed it all the way around this side of the world.. your pieces were so large and bold.. they showed so well!! and I'd love to see you climbing those stairs!!!!Thanks and the very best of the new year to you.

Thanks Lizzie, hey you're going to try the pens.. Cool.. I like that they are waterproof... Have lots of fun in the new year with them!! Take care.

ArtPropelled said...

Catching up with posts and pleased I didn't miss this. Beautiful steps and amazing slabs of stone decked with moss. How wonderful!

Sus said...

WOW! ... and Oh, my aching back!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Robyn and Sus, we are so glad to be this far along on the process of the landscaping... feels good.