Three members of the Cathedral’s stonemasonry team took part in a stone carving competition at Winchester Cathedral over the weekend. The competition, which was part of a Stonemasonry Festival, was open to the public and visitors were able to watch and ask questions of the masons as they worked in Winchester Cathedral's Inner Close.
The three masons representing the Cathedral - Andrew Kirby (27) who has been here for 9 years, Christian Sullivan (22), our apprentice and Jamie Woolrich-Moon (40) - joined 17 other stonemasons for the event which was designed to showcase their highly specialist, age-old craft.
The theme for the competition, which ran from Friday 8 – Sunday 10 July, was ‘Romanesque to Grotesque’ and the masons were required to carve Norman style gargoyles and beasts. Christian created a face made out of hands, inspired by a scene from the film Labyrinth in which the heroine falls into a tunnel made of talking hands. Andrew opted for a more traditional dragon and Jamie created a Phoenix rising out of the flames.
Christian Sullivan, who finishes his apprenticeship in August, said:
“To begin with I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew when I was faced with the bare block of stone and had to figure out where to start. I wasn’t even sure I could achieve the design I had drawn up but I wanted to challenge myself. There was a bit of pressure because there were lots of people there…but once I got started it was OK. I just had to keep focused and not get distracted.”
The competition was won by a freelance mason, Ross Lovett, with a Romanesque Capital, a carving designed to sit at the top of a column. Second place was claimed by Tristan de Pouve from Lincoln Cathedral with an acrobatic figure, and Winchester Cathedral’s Alex Waddell came third with a carving of a mad monk.
On Sunday 10 July all the pieces were auctioned off, with the three pieces from Salisbury Cathedral raising just under £1000, which will go towards funding another Stone Carving Festival in two years’ time.
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