SAVANNAH — Neil Rippingale, training manager from the Dry Stone Conservancy in Lexington, Ky., will be featured Feb. 18-23 in Savannah Technical College’s Historic Preservation Visiting Artisan series.
Rippingale, who has more than 25 years of experience as a “drystone waller,” will teach STC students fundamental techniques of dry-laid stone construction throughout the week in the STC Historic Preservation lab in Savannah.
On Feb. 23, Rippingale will instruct and work with the students to build a dry stone wall from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the college’s Savannah campus behind the Student Enrichment Center. This event is free and open to the public.
Dry stone structures have advantages compared with mortared walls. Dry-laid walls rely on the skill of the craftsmen and the forces of gravity and frictional resistance.
When correctly built, they have flexibility that allows them to conform to foundation settlement without damage. Because the sides slope slightly inward, ground movement locks the structures more tightly into place.
They drain freely. Concrete footing is not needed, saving labor and material expense.
Rippingale joined the Dry Stone Conservancy’s staff in 2001. He is a master craftsman certified by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain.
Prior to joining the conservancy, he was owner and manager of N.R. Stonecraft in Edinburgh, Scotland, and worked as an independent walling contractor throughout the central belt of Scotland. Rippingale has received awards for his work, including first place wins in Central Scotland Walling Competitions and the Pinnacle Award, DSWA’s highest award.
He has taught drystone walling to more than 3,000 trainees and worked in Australia, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Nova Scotia and Montreal as well as most states in the U.S.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 912-443-5864.