GEORGIAN NATIVE GILLAND DEESE ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA TO STUDY ANTHROPOLOGY. IN 2012, HE TOOK A BREAK FROM SCHOOL TO PURSUE OTHER GOALS AND LANDED AT THE PHILMONT SCOUT RANCH LOCATED IN NORTHWEST NEW MEXICO. GILLAND WORKED ON THE 300,000 ACRE RANCH WITH A CONSERVATION WORK CREW FOR FOUR YEARS BUILDING AND MAINTAINING HIKING TRAILS AND CAMPSITES.
HERE HE WAS FIRST INTRODUCED TO DRY STONE WORK, BUILDING ROCK WALLS, WATER BARS, AND ZUNI BOWLS. GILLAND BEGAN WORKING AS A WORK CREW FOREMAN AND FINISHED AS A WORK CREW PROGRAM COORDINATOR.
THIS YEAR, HE DECIDED TO EXPLORE THE WORLD OF DRY STONE MASONRY MORE AND IS NOW APPRENTICING WITH JON.
Travis Rantanen has spent most of his life between New Mexico and Colorado working as a Chef. His interest in working with stone began last year when he took the opportunity to apprentice with Jon at the "Truckee Project" in Truckee, CALifornia.
Since then, he has expanded his learning from dry stone work to blacksmithing as well. His goal is to be well-versed as a tradesman and immerse himself in as much learning as possible. He hopes to help show the necessity of the trades in the modern world.