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Stone and String

Since autumn of 2018, visitors may have noticed an on-going project abutting the field outside our tasting room. Begun in October, put to slumber through the winter, and reborn when the snow finally faded from field and memory, we now see the fruition of months of exacting efforts, masterful skill, and thoughtful execution by stoneworker, wall-builder, and long-time friend Jamie Masefield.

Over the course of a total of 4 months, Jamie has crafted a masterwork of traditional dry-stone masonry that not only structurally frames our roadside parking area and field but the sightlines and vistas of Hill Farmstead from all angles for years to come. During the summer of 2018, Jamie worked with Shaun to design an element that would seamlessly accent the natural landscapes of our rolling hills and also improve the functionality of our parking and summer tasting areas.

Throughout the project, we had wonderful opportunities—sometimes over an end-of-day beer or two—to talk music, stone, and much more. What brings so much more meaning and permanence to this wall stems directly from Jamie’s generous, genuine, gentle spirit. His vision and philosophy inform his work—whether musical or stone—with a through-line of humor, inquisitiveness, and, most importantly, consideration.

He sees the natural symbiosis of—and in—the stones, not simply a puzzle to be assembled but a universal pattern to be discovered, a limited resource to be cherished, and a gift to the future. As the base rose up, stone by painstaking stone, he sought and shaped each new piece to pair with, yet remain independent of, its wall-mates. In the shaping process, no stone or chip went to waste; all pieces belong, so those fragments removed from one place found homes elsewhere, including dust and chips that would become what he calls the wall’s heart stone—a compacted core naturally interconnected to the outer walls by their very essence. There are no ugly or useless stones, only stones awaiting their proper place.

 

He crafts in a dry-stone walling style that was once tradition in the early days of America and is still common throughout Great Britain, and he is one of the few certified professionals in North America using the age-old traditions. His work appears throughout the northeastern United States, Canada, and England.

Many of you likely would know Jamie best as a frequent performer at our festivals. As founder of the legendary Vermont Jazz Mandolin Project, Jamie has graced our events and stages over the last 9 years to share his astounding musical talents.

As gifted with stone as strings, we’re grateful for Jamie and the indelible mark he’s left—ever so gently—on us at Hill Farmstead.

For a great interview with Jamie, check out NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon.

Masefield Wall - 56

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