Dan Snow has created a superb dry stone sculpture in the gardens of Glenmorangie House in the Scottish Highlands beside our distillery.
Across four decades Dan Snow has been building dry stone constructions in his native Vermont USA and far beyond that too. He humbly identifies himself as a dry stone waller, a seemingly simple craft to the uninitiated. In fact, dry stone walling is a considerable skill, a lifetime’s learning, and Dan, it turns out, is much more besides. He is variously described as an assemblage artist, an art-builder, a sculptor and a stone-worker. He is also a Master Craftsman as well as teacher, lecturer and writer. In fact, his books have seen him described as a poet.
Dan explains how his career took shape:
“I studied art and design, majoring in industrial design actually, and I spent my spare time working for other sculptors making artworks. It was studio art, drawings, paintings, sculptures sometimes. Being in New York City it seemed that art meant mostly making a collection of works which could be shown in a gallery, but I often felt art should be able to live outside too. “Back at home, at my parent’s property where there was much stone lying around, I’d created some stoneworks, my first flirtations with Environmental Art or Land Art. And then, still a young man, I spent a summer in Italy helping to restore a castle. That’s really where I started to learn my craft and became totally immersed in it. In Italy I began to feel that I could make an artwork which wouldn’t just occupy an interior space.” Working in Scotland, at Glenmorangie House, has been something of a homecoming for Dan. He’s worked in Scotland before and it’s a place where the dry stone construction tradition continues.
“Scotland has a high reputation for quality and quantity. Look around and the landscape is organised by a lot of dry stone work,” he says. “Nowhere else has that intensity of impact on the craft that Scotland has.” As a member of the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, a Master Craftsman who both instructs and examines, he is active in helping other craftsmen – other wallers and dykers - get better at what they do.