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symposium 2010

photo: View of Ventura from Grant Park where the International Dry Stone Walling Workshop will take place.The tall building in the center is the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach Hotel. The Crowne Plaza will be the Host Hotel for the Symposium. They have set aside a block of discounted rooms for symposium attendees. The Crowne Plaza is on the beach, but within walking distance of Main Street and downtown restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. The terrace outside Aqua (the bar/bistro in the lobby) will be a great place to watch the sunset while sipping a pint of "Rocknockers Ale".


stone carving

The STONE FOUNDATION'S annual gatherings have moved around the calendar and around the world. Last year for the first time it took place in the winter, in Ventura, California. We have decided to return there a year later because Ventura was such a good 'fit' for the Symposium and the workshops associated with it. Both picturesque and pleasant, an interesting variation on the coastal Californian community life style, the historic town center of Ventura, where the Symposium events were focused, is small enough that a car, while a convenience, was not a necessity. Ventura was very welcoming to us, due in large part to the well-publicized Japanese Dry Stone Walling Workshop that preceded the Symposium. The project we took on in a popular civic park was well-supported and much appreciated by the community and by the city's officials and staff. (This year's Dry Stone Walling Workshop will be taking on another project in the same park, a long, tall retaining wall.) The local brewery, Anacapa, did a special batch in our honor called Rocknockers' Ale and will do so again. Being on the coast was something special for those of us who live inland. The stony beach near the hotel was a playground for stonemasons with idle hands. The building and balancing that went on there was fun for us and a source of interest to the townsfolk and visitors strolling along the promenade that parallels the beach.

January 4

Participants should arrange to arrive on the 4th and register between 6 and 9PM at the Anacapa Brew Pub on Main Street in Ventura.

January 10

As always, the evening before the Symposium commences there will be a convivial get-together concurrent with Symposium Registration. On the evening of the 10th this will take place at the Anacapa Brew Pub on Main Street in Ventura. Registration will continue on Tuesday morning at the Crowne Plaza Hotel's beachfront bar area, Aqua.

The Symposium registration fee is $400 which is $40 more than last January, but will include lunch this time.

Given the prevailing economic conditions this may be more than some members can afford, particularly for a mid-winter event, therefore current Stone Foundation members in good standing who have paid the $100 deposit are offered the choice of paying the balance either on January 10th or on July 10th of 2011.

The new meeting place is a spacious former restaurant right downtown on Main Street, next door to the Anacapa Brew Pub.

THE FORMAT this year will be radically different from previous Symposiums:

MORNING: Individually or in groups, Symposium attendees can spend the mornings as they wish, participating in or watching the Lithic Olympic events, participating in or watching a communal public art project or projects, viewing demonstrations, engaging in discourse with other attendees, touring around, or hanging about, hiking, biking, rock climbing, playing golf, surfing, reading, whale-watching, whatever. (On Thursday morning, the 13th, there will be a half day trip to Santa Cruz, one of the Channel Islands, for the first 50 attendees to sign up for it.)

MIDDAY: We will meet for lunch (included in the registration fee) at the Symposium Venue.

AFTERNOON: Presentations by notable guest speakers and Stone Foundation members, including the popular “10 Minute Show and Tell."

EARLY EVENING: Following a break for dinner (the venue is walking distance of more than 50 restaurants) we will reassemble for an early evening program of more presentations, videos, discourse, refreshments—an excellent alternative to a scattering of the force to various ‘night-spots.’

SATURDAY THE 15TH, for those who do not choose to travel home then, can be seen as an extra day, a free-form coda to the Symposium. Plans for Saturday will doubtlessly emerge in the course of the week. Santa Barbara, just up the coast from Ventura, has a rich history of stone architecture and a tour will be arranged if there is sufficient interest. The finals of some of the Olympic events may take place then, and/or a communal dry stone public art project.

Symposium participants would be wise to delay their departure until Sunday, even to schedule a few extra days before or after the Symposium to further experience the area.

• SEAN ADCOCK, dry stone waller, head of Northern Wales chapter of the DSWA, AN IDIOSYNCRATIC SURVEY of VERNACULAR DRY STONE WALLING in GREAT BRITAIN (Confirmed)
• MICHAEL DRUMMOND DAVIDSON, stonemason, stonemason, poet, raconteur, TALES, TALL AND SHORT. (Confirmed)
• DAVID DERNIE, architect, Head of Leicester School of Architecture, De Montfort University, Leicester England two presentations: NEW STONE ARCHITECTURE and ARCHITECTURE, IMAGINATION AND MATERIAL CULTURE, which are the titles of two book that he has written.(Confirmed)
• NICHOLAS FAIRPLAY, master stonecarver (www.fairplaystonecarvers.com) THE ART OF STONECARVING (Confirmed)
• MICHEL GUYOT, the initiator of the Guedelon project in France begun in 1998, a medieval castle currently being built as it would have been in the 13th century, using the same materials and techniques that were prevalent then. (www.guedelon.fr/en) Michel and his team have recently embarked on a similar project in the US, the Ozark medieval fortress. Both projects will be described and discussed.
• ROGER HOPKINS, celebrity stonemason, sculptor, raconteur. HOW I CHANNELED THE ANCIENT BUILDERS (on Nova's "Secrets of Lost Empires").
• VINCE LEE, architect, STONEWORK PHOTO TOUR: Mycene, Tiryns, Baalbek, Petra, Knossos—and other notable Eastern Mediterranean sites (Confirmed)
• PAUL LINDHARD of Art City Studios in Ventura, stonemason, stone wrangler, sculptor and storyteller (Confirmed)
• PEGGY PERAZZO, researcher/compiler. www.quarriesandbeyond.org. THE HISTORY OF QUARRYING IN CALIFORNIA (Confirmed)
• ROBERT SHULER, landscape designer, HARDSCAPE RESTORATION OF A CLIFFSIDE CHARLES GREENE HOUSE in Carmel, CA (involving Masatoshi Izumi)
• EDUARDO LANDA VELASCO, architect and associate of Mexican sculptor Jorge Zapic, The SCULPTURE AND SCULPTURAL ARCHITECTURE of Jorge Zapic (Confirmed)
• WILLIAM WOOD, Santa Barbara California, stonemason, The Historic Stonework and Stoneworkers of Santa Barbara (Confirmed)
• PLUS: THE 10 MINUTE SHOW AND TELL presentations that were so popular at the last Symposium. Stone Foundation members, whether stonemasons, wallers, landscapers, design professionals or artists are invited to give a very brief presentation, either a portfolio of their best work, or the process of realizing an interesting project, or photographs of stonework in their areas or places they have visited. As you probably know from watching video clips and slide shows on the Internet, 10 minutes is a lot of time. In this way, we could have the occasional hour in which three or four members in succession give presentations and answer questions. Feedback and discussions will doubtlessly continue later. There have already been some interesting proposals. If you plan to attend the Symposium and wish to do this, please notify tomas@stonefoundation.org.
• AND: Selected videos of presentations from Stonework Symposium 2007 in Mallorca, Spain.

Those interested will assemble and discuss the the Stone Foundation’s activities, its future form and function.

Contests of skill, strength and judgment involving stone-related activities will take place most mornings. These will include:
• A Dry Stone Walling Competition. This was the only event with a cash prize at Stonework Symposium 2008 in Barre, Vermont. This year the competitors will be building sections of a retaining wall in what will be Ventura's Botanical Garden. It is probable therefore that prize money will be donated from the community. We hope that a bunch of our dry stone wallers will participate in this.
• Eyeballing Contests (judging angles, weight, distance, plumb and level)
• Levering (large stone moved by a two person team with pry bars a certain distance.)
• A Stone Balancing 'Contest'
• The Wheelbarrow Steeplechase
• Lithobolos (Bowling with stone balls, a Neolithic pastime (much like bocce) that was popular at the Symposium in Barre. Those interested will have the opportunity to play during the week and there will be a Lithobolos tournament on Saturday morning.
• Hammer Throw and/or Shot Put

If you are interested in participating in the Lithic Olympic events—as a competitor or an 'official'—please indicate that on your registration forms.

Emma Wood State Beach is a long, curving, stony beach just west of Ventura that sometimes has good surf (and fishing—perch, bass, cabezon and corbina.) Its more than two mile length is covered with sea-smoothed stones. It is an excellent place for two types of recreational activities: stone balancing and cairn building. Last year, instead of a Dry Stone Walling Competition we assembled there for animprovised bit of cairn building until a State Park Ranger appeared and said we needed a permit for what we were doing. This time we will have a permit and go back there and just above the waterline at low tide build a long, curving line of equidistant cairns, each five or more feet tall. This will be a great photo-op and should only take about an hour, after which we will have lunch.

Ventura Beach is a popular surfing beach (bring a wetsuit) and a pleasant place from which to watch the sunset, as is the terrace of the Crowne Plaza Hotel which is right on the beach.

Art City Studios, Gallery and raw stone resource. This is where the stone carving workshop will take place. More than a dozen sculptors have studios here and the owners, sculptors Paul Lindhard and Russel Erickson, procure and sell stone to sculptors. Their two acre domain is thickly populated with multifarious lithic specimens.

Santa Barbara, just 30 miles north of Ventura, has a lot of interesting stonework. A map will be provided to aid in locating it. There are botanical gardens such as Lotusland and interesting private gardens and landscaping (a map will be provided and, if there is sufficient interest, a tour can be arranged).

The Santa Ynez mountains behind Santa Barbara have rock formations (mostly sandstone) that would be of interest to sight-seers or rock climbers. There are hot springs in the Santa Ynez and others closer to Ventura, near Ojai, CA. A map will be provided upon request.

The Channel Islands National Park is just offshore. If there is sufficient interest a boat can be chartered that leaves Ventura Harbor for a morning excursion around the islands, or a half day in the Channel watching for the whales that migrate through here in January and February.

San Simeon (aka Hearst Castle) is 180 miles to the north of Ventura. As it would consume an entire day, a visit here
would be best scheduled on Monday before the Symposium, or on Sunday after it.

Workshop participants, please try to arrive on Thursday, January 4 and register that evening at the Anacapa Brewing Company on Main Street in Ventura so that you don't miss the beginning of the workshop on Friday morning, January 5.

Stonework Symposium 2011 participants, please try to arrive on Monday, January 10 and register that evening at the Anacapa Brewing Company on Main Street in Ventura so that you don't miss the beginning of the Symposium after lunch on Tuesday, January 19.

Those not near enough to drive have a choice of travel by plane or train. Flights to Los Angeles (LAX) are easily arranged. Those who live in towns served by Southwest Airlines can take advantage of that airline's lower fares to Los Angeles.

Option A) Rental car. Those wishing to share a rental car from the airport to Ventura should let us know (tomas@stonefoundation.org, 505-989-4644) and we can pair you up with one or two other attendees arriving at about the same time who might also wish to share a car.

Option B) Train. Amtrak is a good way to travel comfortably to Los Angeles and one can change trains at the terminus, Union Station, and go directly to the Amtrak station in downtown Ventura which is within walking distance from the Crowne Plaza Hotel. From LAX there is a bus (called the Flyaway) to Union Station where one can get the train to Ventura. This bus costs $7.00 and leaves every half hour between 5 am and 1 am, but we've been unable to find how long it takes to arrive at Union Station. Each train from Los Angeles will be met with a pick-up truck to carry bags to the hotel. To view the weekday Amtrak schedule from Union station to Ventura (no reservations needed): http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/amtrak

Option C) Shuttle. The Ventura County Airporter leaves from LAX Terminal #1. It cost $35. To view shuttle schedule and make reservations: http://www.venturashuttle.com/schedule.html
NOTE: Oxnard Airport is quite a bit closer to Ventura than LAX (20 minutes by car) and flying into Oxnard might even be cheaper than flying into LAX—if you fly United Airlines (I think that's the only airline that flies into/out of there). For instance, Boston to Oxnard, RT (two stops, one of them LAX) is only $376 incl. taxes and fees. (Oddly, LAX to Oxnard RT is $400+.) Bypassing LA and LAX would be a relief. We can match up folks arriving there who want to share a rental car (tomas@stonefoundation.org, 505-989-4644).

Santa Barbara just north of Ventura also has an airport (served by both United and American Airlines). Rental cars are available there as well, of course. The Roadrunner Shuttle serves both airports and will take passengers to individual destinations, whether hotel, motel, B&B or campground. From Oxnard the first three passengers share the price of $36; for more than three passengers the price rises to $41. The shuttle from Santa Barbara is a different story, it's $71 for one passenger and $10 for each additional passenger. We may run a shuttle ourselves to and from Santa Barbara. Click Here to see shuttle information.

Ventura has a number of inexpensive motels, less inexpensive hotels and bed and breakfast inns. Click here to see a list of them.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel Ventura Beach is offering rooms to us at a discounted rate of $80 (that's about 20% off.) Those who wish to share the cost of accommodation with another Symposium attendee ($40 is cheaper than most motel rooms) but do not have anyone in mind to share with can email me (tomas@stonefoundation.org) and I will pair you up with someone else of the same gender.

Couples, and those who already have someone they wish to share with, or those who wish solo accommodation at the discounted price, can make reservation directly with the hotel at 805-648-2100. Tell the clerk you'll be attending Stonework Symposium 2011. Reservations can also be made on-line at https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_ei_new&eventID=3093671

This is a boon. Not only only is this hotel a great place to stay, but it is within walking distance of everything else. A rental car would be a convenience, but not a necessity!

The Crowne Plaza is right on the beach and the palm-lined walking/biking path that borders it. The beach has not only sand, but an abundance of sea-smoothed stones in all shapes and sizes, a veritable playground for idle hands less than 50 yards from the hotel and within view of it.

The hotel is also a short walk from Ventura's historic Main Street and its restaurants, pubs and shops.

As noted elsewhere, workshop participants will be able to camp at the worksite on the hill at Grant Park.

In consideration of the financial constraints which may make it difficult to travel to Ventura and attend the Symposium the registration fee has been reduced to $360, and opportunities for camping have been explored.

For Symposium attendees we will be renting a camp site for tents at Emma Wood State Park. The Emma Wood campsite can accommodate 30 tents and campers will share the rental fee of $100. There are RV facilities available as well. It is within walking distance of downtown and there will cars going back and forth. The campsite is 200 yards from the beach (see map below). It is also about the same distance from the highway, so those wishing a quiet campsite may wish to look elsewhere.

We have recently learned that there is another campground near Ojai, CA, about 10 or 15 minutes inland from Ventura. It is called Camp Comfort Park (805) 654-3951.

Nothing is that far from anything else, making a rental car more of a convenience than a necessity. The terrain, except for Grant Park up on the hill above town, is flat and as the weather will be mild (and, hopefully, dry) a bike would be an excellent way to get around, especially from the hotel to the Symposium venue and the pub and back. The Ventura Bike Depot will rent bikes to Stone Foundation folks at a weekly rate of $50 (for two weeks: $75). Phone Shelly at 805-340-2453 to reserve a bike. www.venturabikedepot.com


2011 map