22 July, 2009 – 5:11 pm

That was amazing, I am exhausted.

I arrived in Trondheim airport about 00.30 on Friday morning, my friend Pippa and I travelled together. Once we had managed to retreive our bags ,we made our way to the bus.

It was dark, but that was only because it was raining, we were met by the organiser Oystein Digre at the bus stop opposite the Cathedral, it was 1.40 am and there was an eerie light, it felt like it was 6am.

We managed to get a good nights sleep and made our way to the Archbishops Palace. The Cathedral was beautiful, similar in design to Salisbury and Lincoln.

Pippa and I had been invited to do a bit of carving-to appear on local tv and to add sound to an interview for local radio! I couldn’t wait to get started- We were carving Soapstone from the North of Norway, it was a cross between slate and limestone. We were then invited to have a tour of the scaffolding-which knowing how busy we would be for the weekend was really the only chance we would get.

I really want to go and spend a month or two next year with the Cathedral workshop and become involved in the restoration project, they have been working on this section for 8 yrs now and are hoping to remove some of the scaffolding next year.

Back on the ground, we started to recognise some of our colleagues-that we hadn’t seen for many years, I was very excited to see my mentor Georg Orendi whom I hadn’t seen for 5yrs. There were many new faces both from this country and others.

Once we had registered, got our spot sorted out in our sleeping area-the crypt beneath the Archbishops Palace! we were really spoilt, we decided to have a look around.

 It was very interesting to see how carvings on Nidaros Domkirkes (Cathedral) were similar to those found in this country, Kilpeck, Deershurst, Canterbury to name a few.

We all stayed up chatting and we had a few beers! I wandered around the Cathedral at midnight taking photos-it was perfect late afternoon sun!! I went to bed about 1am. It was weird it was daylight-our bodies just kept telling us it was too light to go to bed.

Saturday morning we got up at 7.30-to a fabulous breakfast of meat, cheese,bread, hard boiled eggs, cereal and fruit. It was going to be a hard day. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was electric.

I had had a bit of a chance to see what the stone was like to carve on Friday morning-so was very excited to see how it worked with the various chisels that I had brought with me. Most people had only brought saws, files and a few carving chisels, when I weighed my tools on Wednesday at work I realised that I could fit more in and so had more chisels-thankfully!  I found that everyone needed to borrow my tools-this I didn’t mind, it also made having a very heavy ruck sack to carry worth it!!

I made a very good start and was able to sit and have some dinner-hot dogs Norwegian style!!

Everyone was very surprised to see how quickly I was able to form the shapes and Freyja started to develop.

We had some wonderful music while we worked and the day sped by-all to quickly.

I decided to stop at 5-mainly so I could beat the rush for the shower-it had been a very hot day. I was able to relax and have a beer with some of the others that had decided to stop. Because of Norwegian Law we couldn’t take our beers outside the roped off area-but that was good, it’s all to easy to carve and drink, and not drink enough water!!

At 8pm we were invited to a restaurant in the Cathedral grounds-a celebration of the event, I wanted to sit with some of the Norwegian Cathedral staff from the workshop. They are not all masons, some are fixers, stain glass workers, a Blacksmith, conservators, cabinet makers-to name a few. It is a different world out there, craft is respected, taken seriously. The Director sat at our table and was very happy with how my carving was coming along.-How everyone’s carving were coming along. This was the first time anything had been done like this in Norway.

Sunday morning the morning of the 140th Anniversary of the start of the restoration of Nidaros Domkirkes.

I had made a very good start on Saturday and was able to continue in the same vein. It was actually quite scary how quickly I was able to work, I know that I could have done so much more to change the carving but I had to remember that it had to be finished by 6pm-the start of the auction.

 It was all very exciting, none of us could believe how well the carvings were selling, My carving was selling and I wasn’t really listening, until the bidding started going crazy!! 8000 krona up and up finally it stopped at 15500 Krona- the equivalent of £1550!!!! The highest was Richard Bossons, who was also the winner-his went for 22000 Krona!!!- the equivalent of £2200.

Then we all settled down to celebrate-the beer needed finishing and everyone could relax.

Check out for more photos.

Thank-you to all who made this the most amazing stonemasons festival that I have ever been to.


  2. wow looks great fun, and some nice work! a few blasts from the past as well. when is the next one?

    By ross on Apr 28, 2010

  3. Hi Ross! Hope you are well. keep an eye on my website for more updates on Festivals. Next one should be in york in August.

    By Carrie Horwood on Apr 28, 2010

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