Jen Corrigan, born in Ontario in 1975, married and mother of three children. An outdoor enthusiast from the get-go, lover of mother earth, photographer, farm hand, tree planter, food grower, kayaker, wildlife observer, retired racing Greyhound adopter, stonemason apprentice, dry stone waller.
The beauty of stone aesthetically arranged caught my eye early on, a visit to Wales and England in 1992 solidified my opinion that stone buildings and dry stone walls placed everywhere, effortlessly a part of nature, is the ideal landscape. I’m drawn like a magnet to limestone and sandstone studded towns like Fergus, Elora, Perth, and Brockville, could be my Scottish and Welsh ancestry, no matter, I don’t want to resist it anyway.
As I got older and started making my living from the land growing vegetables, I came across the same “problem” everyone who has worked the ground has found, stone mysteriously bubbled up every spring where I wanted to plant my vegetables. I came up with the same solution as my forefathers, dumping the stone into the hedgerow until I got some free time to place them into a proper wall.
Well, in growing vegetables for a living, free time never comes until you have snow covering the ground, which also covers the stones you eagerly want to work with. Frustration that gnawed at me, the urge to handle stones was irresistible, I needed to change how I spent my time.
Enter Dry Stone Canada and the workshop that changed the trajectory of my life three years ago. No other work was ever this satisfying, I had to find a way to become a skilled and year-round employable stonemason. Through the inspiration created by and the generosity of Dry Stone Canada, The Ontario Masonry Training Centre, Dry Stone Walling Across Canada and The Stone Trust, along with many journeymen, wallers and mastercraftsmen that have given me the gift of their time, support and advice, I am gaining the valuable skills and confidence needed to realize my dream! The community of dry stone wallers around the world are an inclusive bunch, I am grateful for the sense of belonging, it really does make a difference.