Modern Drystone Sculptor,
Dry Stone    
. Examples of Drystone Walling Projects .

"Gabion Table" - for the foyer of English Partnerships' new head office in Warrington

Gabion Table Dry Stone SculptureThe Lakeland stone forms two cubes of drystone work enclosed in a stainless steel "gabion". The rugged texture offsets the smooth beech and brazilian slate of the foyer to contrast but complement the other.

"Viking Longship" - for East Iceland Museum, Egilsstader at Lilli-Bakki Farm

As a stone craftsman in a team of International heritage craftsmen and women, a reconstruction of a Viking church was first made - built of turf and Viking Longship Dry Stone Sculpturestone with a 280 meter turf wall enclosing the site. A commission from the museum then involved a sculpture for the site which made use of the available materials left over from the church and wall. For this Longship sculpture a 300 year old piece of driftwood forms the mast. Built using appropriate Viking techniques in drystone, with a turf deck and sited on a knoll at the entrance to the site, it was built "over" the hill to seem as though cutting through a wave, just beginning to surf to shore - a poise helped by the presence of a longship expert who made sure it was "seaworthy". The result represents not just a Viking Longship but an ethereal ship returning to the earthly shore with a crew from Valhalla. Checking, perhaps, that we have built well, the spirits of the past seem to be watching over the Pilgrims to the site.

"Newcastle Brown Ale Bottle" - 10 foot high for Forest Enterprise/Friends of Chopwell Wood, Newcastle.

A theme "cultural reference points of the north east" brought up various ideas including the Tyne bridge, which is, actually possible. However, a pillar formed in the shape of a Newcastle Brown Ale bottle proved to be an unmistakable shape - with a bulging shoulder, neck, and lip. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the construction was of very thin, rather than thick, heavy stone, which meant, lots and lots of layers.

"Dragonfly" mosaic - Heddon on the Wall Community Garden, commission for Help the Aged

Dragonfly Mosaic Stone ArtStone mosaic for Heddon on the Wall Community Butterfly Garden consisted of Welsh blue slate and Westmorland green, with ladycross Quarry wings and body. Outer edging in 200 year old ballast from all over the world, including sailing ships using the northeast coast ports. It is inspired by dragonflys seen here the previous year, and by ideas from the local community. The Garden is a landscaping project bringing young and old alike together with great success - the interest and involvement shown during my time there has been very positive.

Giant's Seat Dry Stone Sculpture"Giant's Seat" - Pathhead Watermill Gardens, Blaydon, Newcastle.

A training course project utilising old wall and rubbish stone left over from mill renovation. Massive whinstone lintels from Old Blaydon bridge used for seat base. Most of the wall was built by raw course beginners, showing how quickly skills can be learnt with proper guidance. This ongoing retaining wall project is now being completed with great enthusiasm at a prime central site with thanks to Trevor Underwood, curator of Dr Hatricks' retaining wall and stepsthe mill, for his humour and vision.

Dr Hatricks' retaining wall and steps

A Whinstone random uncoursed dry stone wall with old street cobbles as step risers, it started off as a low wall project! It now extends down to two further levels with a dramatic view across the Scottish border to Cheviot. An art deco style house transformed with love and skill.


Donald Gunn - North East England

North Northumberland, UK

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