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The Stonemason

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

A wonderful morning with Andrew Ziminski in his workshop in Frome as he worked on a relief carving in Bath Stone. Sun streamed into the open sided shed and chickens wandered in and out.

As he worked, he took me on a journey. We went back to post-war Scotland, where his father was a Tunnel Tiger and hewed granite for hydro-electric power tunnels. We went to South America where the Lignum Vitae grows, a very hard wood used to make one of his wood mallets. We time-travelled millions of years to the Jurassic age when Bath stone was laid down. And all the while there was the rhythm of the beat of the mallet hitting his chisel as he worked intricate relief patterns into the stone.

He has worked on huge projects over the years but is taking time out from Minerva, the stone company he co-founded, to write another book and work on sculpture exploring the relationships between Roman, Celtic and medieval motifs.

The drawings I made of Andrew are part of the 'The Old Craft' project I am working on. My conversations with the craftspeople are mixed into my charcoal and will be included in the book to be published in March 2021 when the exhibition at the Somerset Rural Life Museum opens.

Thanks to Andrew for a good cup of tea and such a warm welcome.

Andrew's book 'The Stonemason, a History of Building Britain' is published by John Murray, 2020



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