Between Stone and Sky
Memoirs of a Waller
By Whitney Brown
Between Stone & Sky is both the memoir of a female dry-stone waller and a book about feminism, craft, nature and the pleasures of working with your hands.
'This is a book about the stories we tell ourselves and one woman's determination to make hers true' Spectator
'A fresh . . . heartfelt book that . . . makes you want to throw away your mobile, run for the hills and learn a traditional craft' The Lady
'A spirited defence of manual labour' TLS
At the age of twenty-six, Whitney Brown met a dry-stone waller. Within weeks she was out on the hill with him in Wales, learning the language of dry-stone walling. Far away from the pressures of her old life, she found deep satisfaction in working with her hands, in the age and heft of the stones, and the ring of the hammer.
Out under the open sky, Whitney relished every sore muscle and smashed finger, opportunity to stand atop a wall she'd just built and feel like the strongest woman alive.
Between Stone and Sky is a celebration of the raw and rugged splendour of the Welsh countryside and the enduring beauty and relevance of traditional craftsmanship. It is an unflinchingly honest account of the emotional struggle to become and belong. Most of all, it is an empowering story of female friendship, accepting uncertainty and risk, and crossing oceans in pursuit of dreams.
Whitney Brown is a dry-stone waller based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. Originally from South Carolina, she has a masters in Folklore from the University of North Carolina. She first visited Wales in 2009 and returns as often as she can.
- Other details
- Publication date:
04 Jul 2019
- Page count:
Confessional, heartfelt . . . memoir . . . adventure and intrigue aplenty . . . this is a book about the stories we tell ourselves and one woman's determination to make hers true. Triumphant and tragic in equal measure, Brown's story is the American dream for the millennial generation — Spectator
A spirited defence of manual labour — Rebecca Foster, Times Literary Supplement
A fresh . . . heartfelt book that . . . makes you want to throw away your mobile, run for the hills and learn a traditional craft — Rebecca Wallersteiner, The Lady
Refreshingly funny . . . wonderful . . . Brown's writing about the Welsh countryside, and the Welsh people, is particularly colourful; she captures their earthy warmth brilliantly with her outsider's eye. The details about walling are also fascinating and empowering: as a woman working on the land, Brown writes powerfully about the feminist emancipation she experiences . . . But the woman Brown gets to know best in this multi-textured memoir is herself, as she encourages us to find ourselves, in all weathers, in the open air — Jude Rogers, BBC Countryfile