here’s what set us back:

see the lean to the south? it was much worse before we took that top part down.

from the other side:

standing behind the compost, looking down the length of the wall:

Tattersall on the stile, before we took it down (his favorite sunset-viewing platform):

Current operating theory is that we weren’t using enough moisture in the clay mix, and that the mix needs to be sifted to remove large lumps that don’t break down properly; these two factors cause the bricks not to set up very well, so they were more prone to shifting, and they were laid somewhat out of true to begin with.

when that stretch of wall started leaning far over, it also pulled on the rest of the wall, which caused this:

which may or may not be fixable; we probably have to take the arch down and redo the sunflower when we rebuild it. we are not doing any more plaster sculpture until we get all of this stuff sorted out again.

this part had also started to get way out of true, so we took down the leaning parts here, too:

up close:

so, the way we are doing things now, is that we don’t do wall work when Ian isn’t around, we’re not throwing huge numbers of people at the project (in order to maintain tighter quality control), we’re agreed on a set standard for quality control amongst ourselves (that plumb bob gets invovled in every bag that gets added, this time, and “subvertical” areas that are out of true more than 4″ get taken down and rebuilt properly).

it’s going to take a lot longer to finish, but it’s not going to fall down again, and it should still end up being both functional and beautiful.