On Wednesday I gave a talk and demonstration about my work. I have found giving talks and demonstrating stone carving such a good discipline and so enjoyable (after the nerves subside) that I try to make it a regular commitment.
On this occasion I was visiting the Whitby Art Society, who were a lovely and very welcoming group. They have regular meetings at Sneaton Castle in Whitby, and it is here that I gave my talk. Driving up towards the Castle and through the arched gateway made for a very grand entrance and it was lovely to be surrounded by so much magnificent stone.
Sneaton Castle Centre is situated in beautiful and extensive grounds adjacent to St Hilda's Priory which is the Mother house of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, an Anglican religious community. The Centre is within walking distance of the heart of the historic and picturesque seaside town of Whitby, affording easy access to some of the most glorious countryside, notably the North Yorkshire Moors and coastline.
The castle itself dates back to the 19th Century and following major refurbishment, the buildings have been transformed into an ideal modern venue for Conferences, Training Events, Seminars, School, College and Youth Trips, Church Weekends, Holidays, Individual Breaks and Group Outings.
St Hilda's connection with Whitby is famous of course, with the Abbey on top of the cliff.
At the church beside the Abbey, St Mary's, there is a wonderful cross, Caedman Cross and in one of the panels is St Hilda herself, a beautiful carving - and what a face she has! And I love the birds at the hem of her robes. You can see something of her determined character, which must have been required in the setting up of her double monastery, for men and women, following a pattern of disciplined life - her Abbey became one of the greatest centres for religion and learning in the North East of England, and in the known world.
My talk covered things on a much smaller scale, such as where my ideas come from and realising them, what motivates creativity, paying attention to emotion and spirit, and transcribing it all into a reality in stone, and the practicalities of doing so.
I wonder if I dare carve a panel of me for eyes in the future - I have to say the idea is rather appealing and I'm thinking about what I might include!