Emma Knowles

I grew up in Yorkshire surrounded by dry stone walls, so much so they almost went unnoticed. For much of my life, the walls of northern England were just something to shelter behind or haul my bike over.

Fast forward a few decades and I emigrated to Australia, driven by the desire for the untamed wilderness. By this time, I was an experienced mental health manager. I had a good standard of living but an undernourished soul. So before long I ditched the suit, left my job, and set off on an unplanned adventure.

I wanted to embrace my practical side, so I took jobs on farms as I travelled. At one of these jobs, I was asked, on account of my origins, if I could build a dry stone wall. I couldn’t, but a few months later on a trip to the UK, I attended several courses and commenced a lifelong journey into the world of dry stone.

It was love at first sight, creating natural structures from natural materials in natural surrounds. I learned from the experts, immersed myself in the history and traditions of the art, qualified as a professional waller, and became part of the wonderful walling community.

Working with stone is a continuous apprenticeship, with every stone and every project, teaching you something new. I’ve been fortunate to be mentored by some of the trade’s best practitioners and awarded a fellowship from the International Specialized Skills Institute. This support has enabled me to become one of only six DSWA UK Advanced level female dry stone wallers in the world, and currently the only one of any gender in the southern hemisphere.

As a Corporate and Professional member of the DSWA UK, I’m passionate about developing a strong dry stone community in Australia, maintaining these ancient authentic skills, and increasing opportunities for women to get involved. I’m a founding member and current co-convener of the Women’s International Stone Alliance.

I established Stone of Arc in 2017 and have since undertaken heritage restorations, public space constructions, and diverse commissions in both Australia and the UK. I am also an experienced instructor and have established the only professionally recognised training facility in the southern hemisphere to incorporate all the elements required to teach the traditional dry stone craft from beginner to expert.

Stone of Arc

Stone of Arc undertakes the design and construction of traditional dry stone features for both domestic customers and large organisations.

Specialising in the integration of Neolithic building techniques with contemporary design requirements, we create unique, enduring, and practical works of art.

We also specialise in the preservation and restoration of existing dry stone constructions, and actively promote the traditional craft of dry stone walling through ongoing training, practice workshops, and intensive courses. We are committed to ensuring a high standard of construction and training, all staff employed by Stone of Arc are professional wallers accredited by the DSWA UK.

Want to learn to build with dry stone?


0432 350 125

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