The Company makes its Mark at the Natural Stone Show

The Company had a presence at the Show last week, courtesy of Stone Federation of Great Britain who kindly gave us space on its Stone Village site. We were placed next door to the booth run by the Building Craft College in Stratford – venue for several Company visits – that drew considerable interest as the students carved a 3D relief map of the UK. It was enlightening to see it emerge from a block of stone as the show went on.

This was the first time that the new Company pull-up banner was on general display as part of the exhibit designed to collect some more masons’ marks to add to the on-line register being kept by Liveryman Eric Bignell. As Editor of Natural Stone Specialist magazine, Eric gave us a full page spread in the show catalogue, bringing a number of interested visitors who wanted to find out more about our activities.

Thanks to him and Liveryman Mark Goldman who took a party of members and guests around the show – pointing out some of the highlights and introducing them to leading lights in the stone world. Thanks also to the Liverymen who took time to represent the Company on our stand.

Although there were many members of the Company present on business, those outside the stone and stonemasonry world found the event very interesting. There was good “buzz” about, with a fascinating variety of displays – from national and international stone samples to machinery and tools.

The Stone Federation café was most welcome after a few hours walking around the biggest show for many years. It also provided a meeting place for many of the Yeomen and Freemen who attended to chat to other Company members – with a good exchange of ideas and views.

On display on the Harvey Stone stand, manned by Freeman honoris causa Chris Berridge, was one of the enlarged masons’ marks, pictured, carved by Yeoman Mason Thomas Appleton. The originals were found during the restoration of Barrington Court in Somerset. Thomas carved them using the same tools that would have been employed in Tudor and Elizabethan times on Ham stone removed during recent restoration work.

A masons’ mark entry was drawn every day to collect a bottle of champagne. On Wednesday the winner drawn by Nancy Peskett, a Stonemasonry tutor at The Building Crafts College, was Hannah Sofaer of Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust, pictured. The Trust had a wonderful array of its students work on display. Hannah’s mark, also pictured, is a consolidation of the letters of her palindromic name. There is a Company visit to the Isle of Portland planned for September and we hope to meet up with Hannah again there, when we visit the Trust’s sculpture park at the Tout Quarry.

The Company will again be represented at the Gloucester Stone Carving Festival being held on the weekend of 23rd/24th May at the Llanthony Secunda Priory, close to Gloucester Docks. At the same time, the Docks will be hosting the Tall Ships festival and there will be a variety of attractions on offer to visitors. Admission to the Stone Carving Festival is free. We have sponsored a number of the entrants into the competition to carve a sculpture based on the theme of “Wild Animals”. The Festival ends with an auction of the work at 15.00 on Sunday. We will again be collecting masons’ marks – with a champagne prize draw for the winner at the auction. Do attend if you can – it promises to be a great weekend. More details on the Festival website - www.stonecarvingfestival.co.uk

Roger Adcock FCIOB | 07/07/2015 00:00:00