Workshops & Certifications

The Conservancy holds several workshops for the general public to learn basic dry stone techniques and for advanced mason training. Participants learn international standards in dry stone masonry and then participate in building projects to upgrade their skills.

Dates and locations for workshops vary.  Workshops run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, beginning with a classroom introduction to the techniques of dry stone masonry, followed by hands-on instruction while restoring or building a dry stone wall.  Participants bring their own work gloves, safety glasses and a rock or brick hammer and their own food (unless otherwise noted). DSC will provide extra hammers for those who don’t already own or plan to buy one.  

Registration is limited and on a first-come first-serve basis. Dates and locations are subject to change; all registered participants will be notified as soon as possible.

About our Workshops

The Conservancy regularly offers workshops and training courses taught by highly qualified instructors teaching internationally-accepted standards for the craft. Introductory two-day workshops are geared to three groups: those interested in careers as professional dry stone masons; those interested in building or restoring their own drystone fences and garden walls; and professional designers, engineers, inspectors and project owners who design and oversee drystone masonry restoration projects.

Conservancy workshops involve hands-on instruction in the fundamental structural techniques involved in building a durable early Kentucky rock fence or retaining wall. Courses include a classroom component where participants learn the history and uses of drystone walls, the fundamentals techniques of drystone construction and the opportunities available for restoration and new construction. After viewing a brief training video participants then proceed to the workshop site to dismantle and fully restore a failed section of historic stone wall. A training manual is provided for all workshop participants.

History of Workshops

Introductory training workshops sponsored by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Kentucky Heritage Council were first conducted by the Dry Stone Conservancy in 1995 and 1996 to pre-qualify masons interested in bidding rock fence work for the Paris Pike widening project. Shortly thereafter, Kentucky State Parks sponsored two training courses at Fort Harrod to restore their fences and train local masons for future work.

Since 1996, the DSC has conducted dozens of additional introductory training courses for amateurs, professional masons and design professionals in the following Kentucky and beyond.