BOUSILLAGE Bousillage is a mixture of local clay and cured Spanish moss originally used by Native Americans in Louisiana as a type of "mortar" in the walls of their primitive homes. Acadians in Louisiana subsequently adapted the use of bousillage in their raised cypress framed homes. Bousillage was used in both large aristocratic plantations homes and in simple cajun cottages. Bousillage home construction ceased at the dawn of the 20th century (1900).
Dale's BIO Dale's grandfather Mayeus Darbonne of Basile, La. built a chimney as a young man out of bousillage for the family home, and it was his retelling of this story to Dale as a young boy while digging a well and Dale's fascination with the clay that began what has become a life long vocation and avocation with bousillage.
Dale was born in Abbeville, Louisiana but grew up in Lake Charles. Dale's ethnicity includes Italian, Cajun French, and Native American.
In 1985, while working set construction on Glen Pitre's film, "Belizaire, the Cajun", Dale was asked to reconstruct a full scale bousillage chimney at Longfellow Evangeline State Park, his first hands on experience. To accomplish this Dale researched the technique extensively to add to his grandfather's oral teachings through old books, as there was no one still doing this craft.
Since 1985, Dale has worked with bouisillage continuously. He has done eight bousillage restorations on plantation homes. Among them the over 200 year old Armand Broussard Home at Vermilionville, Magnolia Mound Plantation, Oakland Plantation and several private homes. Thus Dale's work in historical home bousillage restoration has been highly sought after for his extensive experience in this once forgotten craft. He has brought this ancient form of wall building into present day by building bousillage walls into modern homes as it is a renewable resource.
Dale has demonstrated bousillage techniques at over thirty five regional and out of state festivals, living history museums, and school programs (through the "Bright New Worlds" art program) from the late 1980's to present, including New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Festival Acadians, Festival International, Houston International Festival Salute to France, Monroe Folklife Festival and Sugar Fest to name a few.
Dale is Smithsonian recognized for his bousillage wall building. He also is a sculptor and uses bousillage as his medium, the only one in existence using this material for art.
Dale's primitive folk art sculptures in bousillage have been displayed in numerous art galleries and collections in Louisiana (including the prestigious Arthur Roger Gallery and the Roger Ogden collection in New Orleans) and in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico.
Dale's work is in the private collections of such well known actors as Mickey Rourke, James Earl Jones, John Ashton and singer Tori Amos, Jimmie Vaughn and Gerry Mcgee.
Dale has been featured on numerous television programs, and in countless magazine and newspaper articles on his bousillage restoration and art work.