Serendipity continues to play its delightful and ever-surprising part in the building works here. While we were working on the renovations of the smaller of the two buildings, I was contacted by an American stoneworker travelling in Morocco who was looking for a project to get involved in before heading back to California. (Facebook has its uses. I’m a member of a stoneworkers group and this is how the contact came about.) So I found myself at 04:30am one mid-April Wednesday morning waiting at the deserted train station in Santa Comba Dão to collect Michael Eckerman off the night train from Madrid.
Michael is well-known in the world of dry-stone walling for breaking with traditional construction techniques and bringing an artistic sensibility into their application. His walls flow, curve and coil and have inspired many to develop similar styles since. A contemporary of the likes of Lloyd Kahn and Ken Kern (who was a personal friend), some of the figureheads of the back-to-the-land and self-build movements of the 1970s, Michael is an ‘original’ in all senses of the word, so it was a delight to spend a while in his company.
This is what he created.