Articles

Who do you work for?

Bathgate wall – day 1

I work in quite a solitary profession;

I usually work alone with just the stone at hand; my hammer and chisels; the finished article in my head and maybe some sketches or rough drawings to hand;

I am aware that there are others working on similar projects in other parts of the world, all having the same thoughts of “how am I going to make this pile of stone into something that resembles my design?”, or more usually “just, hmmm…” and even sometimes “oh…s*&t!”;

I don’t usually see what others are making – they are working alone too;

I enjoy seeing a project come to fruition – starting with feelings of awe at the size of some projects, the feelings of frustration at the difficulties posed by the weather or the ground I work on. The tired limbs after days of moving, lifting, shaping and placing stone;

Dry stone wall

Bathgate wall – halfway there…

I get satisfaction from placing the last few copes and seeing the job done to the best of my abilities;

I am aware that there are organisations such as the Dry Stone Walling Association who push for standard ways of building stonework. I try to follow their guidelines as best I can but they are not there when I am putting my stone together;

I am aware that the client is paying me good money to build them something structurally sound and long-lasting; good looking and inspiring even;

I am aware that I have ‘000s of followers on Facebook who enjoy the pictures that I put up because they like looking at images of stonework.  I like their comments and feedback – its good to get and makes me think I am doing something right;

I earn my pay doing this job – it is a necessity as well as a passion;

Bathgate dry stone wall

Bathgate – all done

I like peer review and approval but it is not my driver – like or hate what I do it matters not to me.  What can I do?

I don’t like anything I do – there is always a stone I could lay better. Stone workers are the most self-critical of all workers.

So who do I work for?

I work for my clients who offer me the chance to carry out my profession.

I work for clients who feel moved to write things like the following:
Thank you – we are truly delighted with the quality of the work undertaken by Stone Inspired. From start to finish Jason engaged positively with us, taking time to understand our requirements and making further suggestions which helped to improve the overall design. It was fascinating to watch the skill and craftmanship in developing this fantastic addition to our garden. The Denfined stone is beautiful. Demonstrating a professional approach throughout we would highly recommend Stone Inspired to others.

and

We love the Wonky Wall. It has already given us great pleasure to see it evolve, like some ancient dragon stretching itself out of the ground and coming to life. Not so much breathing fire, as ice (it was a very cold winter !). The wall is a masterpiece of Jason’s craftsmanship and his imagination. A true work of art.

and

Who would have believed that three huge mounds of red field boulders plus some old stone lintels from a Dundee jute factory could be transformed into an elegant and really interesting series of garden walls (not to mention the arch). We’re so pleased with the result which makes the perfect transition from formal terrace to wild garden. Roll on the spring for Phase Two!

And I work for myself because it gives me the reasons to get out of bed in the morning…

Finally

For those of you who like what I do thank you, and keep following my progress.

and…

For those who don’t, well I am sorry that I can’t match your own standards.  If you have something constructive to say, tell me in private.  Otherwise please keep your opinions to yourself.  You don’t engender respect by being disrepectful. You only show yourself to be poor human beings – for all of your lofty standards.

9 Awesome Comments So Far

Don't be a stranger, join the discussion by leaving your own comment »
  1. Pieter Schaafsma
    December 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Well said Jason! Do what you do best and do it the best way you know how, take the good and throw out the bad. Thanks for the inspiration and the humor. I look forward to the continuation of sharing ideas with you.
    Adios,
    Pieter

  2. John Hulbert
    December 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

    Nicely put,your posts will be missed. I’ll be keeping in touch and hopefully we’ll meet up one day 🙂

  3. Kelly Flye
    December 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Very insightful Jason.
    I think working alone, with nature or natural elements, inspires reflection. Some things just can not be controlled, weather for instance, or bad drivers!. So, to finish something despite what at first seemed so daunting is already more than most may do! And to do it the best you can says a lot about yourself.
    Why do masons always want to change a stone or two?
    I enjoy your photos. I think your work is pretty cool.
    Keep sharing, thanks

  4. renee vankuren
    December 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    I’ve been a self employed craftsmen my whole life. Often people don’t like my work but I like it and to me that is what’s important. I put myself into my work to the best of my ability for ME….of course it’s important to make money in this world and satisfy my customers but ultimately it’s me who needs to be happy otherwise the work suffers.
    sooooo… I’d tell you to stay true to yourself and your own vision… it looks great to me!!! any ‘trolls’ out there are just miserable little people with no sense of what being alive is about.

  5. martin
    December 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    well said i think as afellow dyker i have been very inpressed with what i have seen of your work, so good luck and all the best

  6. Bill Lenker
    December 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    I think you nailed it when you mentioned the word “progress”. For me, each project is a meter of personal progress. Like you, I am rarely satisfied. I think this is what keeps us going, as each new project is a chance to get a little closer to our own personal best, while hopefully satisfying our clients and those around them, who begin to interact with what has been built on a daily basis, as well. Frequently, it is the neighbors or people who walk by everyday who have the greatest impression upon them by a new hand-built structure. It is like a painting that reveals something new in it’s depth with each viewing. With regard to that analogy, stonework is the art form that allows me to make an honest living, while getting to be outside, interacting with the most basic elements of the earth. It is art by the ton that is for anyone that can lay eyes on it. Not just the client. The process is what feeds our souls. Our work enhances environments and can still be recycled… the perfect vocation. I will stop waxing poetic, but your comments are thoughts I have shared. Merry Christmas to you, and yours!

  7. Jason Hoffman
    December 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Thanks for all of the comments. Much appreciated.

  8. Belinda Macdonald
    December 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Very thought provoking monologue, Jason, and it is how I feel about much of my design work too. The web has opened up fantastic networks of like-minded souls & and supporters and it it why I spend so much time cruising facebook and twitter, despite the pithy comments from others who have the benefit of social interaction within their workplace. So, you are not alone, out there with your stone – there are other creatives who may be warmer during their day’s work, but who are similarly reliant upon their own inner resources to motivate themselves on a daily basis.

  9. Jason Hoffman
    December 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Thanks Belinda. I guess its all about the pros and cons of self-employment – you are both in charge or yourself and isolated too. Ying and Yang. Good and the bad!

    And the internet has been crucial for my business – it’s where I get virtually all of my work from. Facebook is great for keeping people up to date with what I do, and I’m pleased to see my likers grow toward 1000.

    However, it’s also very easy to sucked into making unhelpful or derogatory comments about others. With the internet available via smart phones and tablets now, it’s just too easy to comment.

    There is a whole new etiquette out there that we haven’t quite developed yet. Its too easy to see a small, low resolution image and go “I like” or “I hate it”. But behind that image is usually a lot of effort. And unfortunately people read the negative stuff, and it hangs around for a long time.

    Be nice to each other should be the watch word!

Leave a Comment

Remember to play nicely folks, nobody likes a troll.