Visiting Artisan Series features Dry Stone Masonry Expert

#1338 | February 4, 2013

Dry-laid wall training session is open to the public on February 23

SAVANNAH –Savannah Technical College will host its Historic Preservation Visiting Artisan series featuring Neil Rippingale, training manager from the Dry Stone Conservancy in Lexington, Kentucky, the week of February 18-23, 2013.

Rippingale has more than 25 years of experience as a “drystone waller.” He will teach Savannah Technical College students fundamental techniques of dry-laid stone construction throughout the week in the STC Historic Preservation lab (5717 White Bluff Road, Savannah, 31405).

On Saturday, February 23, 2012, Rippingale will instruct and work with the students to build a dry stone wall from 10 a.m. until 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 prestigious 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 of the states in the USA. As the Conservancy’s Training Program Manager, Rippingale wears many hats – technical consultant, workshop instructor, mason mentor, certification program examiner and competition organizer as well as project superintendent for the Conservancy’s restoration and training projects.

The Savannah Tech’s Visiting Artisan series is the first effort of its kind at any of Georgia’s technical colleges, bringing three world-class craftsmen to campus each for a week throughout the year. Savannah Tech has the only public hands-on preservation program in the state. The program has gained international recognition and has contributed to a number of community-based preservation projects in the surrounding communities. The program is the cornerstone of new instructional programs in Green Building Technology, which focuses on a comprehensive view of systems and efficiencies in construction.

For information about the Visiting Artisan Series and Historic Preservation at Savannah Technical College, contact Steve Hartley at or 912.443.5864.


Historic Preservation Department Head: Stephen Hartley or 912.443.5864

Media Contact: Amy Shaffer, APR
912.443.5512 or

Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (