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Post by stephen Critchley on 27th June 2013, 6:50 pm

Stephen Critchley works every day carving stone and marble in his workshop which although there is work of all styles represented, resembles a set for an English eccentric photo shoot.

In the strongest possible contrast to factory made articles all Stephen pieces are works of art, unique to their eventual owners. “All our pieces are created by myself and my team of craftsmen all of whom have served a long apprenticeship to acquire the skills needed.” he explains.

Their work includes fire surrounds, garden ornament, interior design pieces, statuary and dressed stone for building conservation and new build projects. All their carved work is produced in Britain using age-old techniques and tools. “We make items as well as they did in the Renaissance or 18th century; people don't realise there are craftsmen who can still do work of this calibre.”

Stephen says his interest in heritage and craft came early in life. “ My Granddad worked at the Tower of London until the mid 1970's, some Saturdays if he was working we would go and take his lunch to him. As I was young and showed interest the yeoman warders and some of the soldiers were kind to me and would talk and tell me stories about the Tower.” he continued “One of the proudest moments of my childhood was, on a school visit to the Tower, a yeoman warder came over and said hello Steve back again, it made me very popular for a couple of days but most of all made me feel linked to; and part of the history of London, it is this feeling and the pride and responsibility I feel in the fact that almost everything I carve will still be here well after I'm gone that still keeps me enthused.”

“I take this pride in my work into all my carving which makes all my work part of the same tradition; through my training and experience each piece is another piece of British craftsmanship and in particular London craftsmanship.”

Through his career so far he has worked on an amazing number of this Britain's and Europe's architectural gems. “As a journey man in the 1980's rather than chase the money of the boom, I chased the interesting work.” (By the way, he tells me although many think journey man comes from the fact they would journey around looking for work, in fact it comes from the old French a la journee by the day as in, paid or employed by the day.)

“The most interesting work for me now is when an interior designer commissions a piece and gives me the freedom to be creative.”

Stephen again starts to carve, making deliberate, slow confident strokes with a sharp chisel in absolute physical concentration, and a transformation comes upon him. The man who had been so upbeat in conversation is gone, and a different, quieter energy fills him. The clamour of the modern world retreats and mallet on chisel is the only sound.

http://sjcritchley.com

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Post by Dandelion on 27th June 2013, 9:04 pm

What a lovely piece of writing - am really looking forward to seeing some pictures some time.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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