Kevin Gardner: Discovering New England Stone Walls
Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7 p.m.

Kevin’s informal talk covers a few of the main topics of his book about New England stone walls, The Granite Kiss (Countryman Press), touching on history, technique, stylistic development, and aesthetics. He explains how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, the ways in which they and other dry stone structures were built, how their styles emerged and changed over time, and their significance to the famous New England landscape. Other topics may include: differences in approach between historical and contemporary wall-builders, a discussion of restoration tips and techniques, and information about design, acquisition of materials, preservation, and analysis. There is always a generous question-and-answer period, during which listeners are encouraged to bring up specific problems or projects on their own properties.

Along the way, Kevin occupies himself building a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop, using tiny stones from a five-gallon bucket. He often brings along his collection of books about stonework, and copies of The Granite Kiss will be available for sale.

Since the publication of The Granite Kiss, Kevin has presented his program at dozens of historical societies, bookstores, and town libraries all over New England, including Canterbury Shaker Village, the NH Historical Society, Castle-in-the-Clouds, Old Sturbridge Village, Boston's Arnold Arboretum, and many, many more.

Kevin Gardner is a writer, teacher, tradesman, and a lifelong resident of Hopkinton, NH. For nearly forty years he has been a stone wall builder in a family business widely known for traditional New England stonework, particularly for historic restoration of antique structures. In 2001, Kevin published The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls. In addition to The Granite Kiss, he has published poetry, songs, and essays, including “Radical Resilience: American Families from 1850-2001” (with Brenda Foley), which appeared in the anthology No Higher Calling, and “Land of Stone”, an examination of several historic sites in the Monadnock Region, in the 2006 anthology Where The Mountain Stands Alone.

From 1985 to 2010, Kevin was also a performance critic, feature writer, and producer for NH Public Radio. His pieces on arts, history and culture aired on National Public Radio and the Christian Science Monitor broadcast network, and he was a two-time winner of the NH Association of Broadcaster’s Golden Mic Award for feature writing. In 2004, Kevin was a co-host (with Laura Knoy) of the nationally syndicated radio series Storylines New England, an interview and call-in program about our regional literature. He’s been a Guest Host of Ms. Knoy’s morning call-in show, The Exchange, and has written and produced other special programming for NHPR.

Kevin is also a longtime professional actor, director, and teacher of theatre. He has taught at the New Hampton School, the NH Institute of Art, and at St. Paul’s School. Since 1999 he has been the Master Teacher of the course Shakespeare for Performance in the St. Paul’s Advanced Studies Program. He is also a regular Guest Director at Plymouth State University, a former performance evaluator for the NH State Council on the Arts, and a frequent adjudicator of local, regional, and national theatre festivals. New Hampshire Magazine named him the state’s Best Theatre Critic in 2008.

This is a ONE BOOK Chelmsford program funded by the Chelmsford Friends of the Library