In the Company of Stone: The Art of the Stone Wall, Dan Snow 2001

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of building with stone, this is a book you will love.  Accompanied by Peter Mauss’s superb black and white photographs of his work, Snow has written a paeon to the art of stonework and the building of stone walls.  Living in southern Vermont and working in place on properties there and in nearby New Hampshire, Snow relates the “discovery of worth where it hasn’t been noticed before…the art of drystone walling.”  His art encompasses the whole process, as he says, “Finding stone, choosing it, and letting go of it are the three things the waller does.”  My modest attempts to build stone walls, cairns, and land art, which you can see at,made me especially thrilled to read this book, but I think any reader who loves the outdoors and nature’s craft will enjoy this book and return to its photographs often.  Stone is heavy, infinitely variable in its shapes, colors, and sizes, and has been around for millions of years.  Lifting it and finding the perfect place for it in a wall, cairn, or sculpture gives one a sense of being a part of the earth and a pleasure in creating beauty that is different from other activities.  Snow writes: “Stone has a strong predisposition to fall.  Just a little tipping, spinning, or rolling on my part activates its restless soul.”  Read the book; enjoy the photographs; marvel at what Snow can do with stone; and then go out and pile a few stones on each other—voila, you’ve created!

Shop your local indie bookstore