The workshop tutors at the West Cork Stone Symposium have an extraordinary range of experience and expertise in stone carving and dry stone walling.
Passionate about stonecraft, these contemporary craftspeople have worked on a wide range of heritage restoration projects as well as on carving, walling, and sculpture projects of their own. The stone symposium gives them an opportunity to share their expertise with each other and with anyone who has an interest in learning timeless traditional skills.
A symposium brings together experienced practitioners and people with an interest in traditional crafts so that skills, techniques, and ideas can be shared.
Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland Tutors
We’re hugely grateful for the support of the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland. Is members are the instructors on the walling workshop, and they’ll be joined by wallers from around the world over the weekend of the West Cork Stone Symposium. We’d encourage anyone who joins us for the weekend and discovers a passion for the craft to join the DSWAI.
Meet Our Workshop Tutors
Meet some of the workshop tutors who’ll be helping you learn about dry stone walling and stone carving as part of an exciting weekend of craft and creativity on the Sheep’s Head peninsula!
Victor is a time served stone-cutter, with over 20 years’ experience of stone-working in Ireland and abroad.
As well as working on projects such as headstone design and abstract sculpture, Victor has been involved in landmark projects to conserve and restore St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, and Barryscourt Castle in Co. Cork.
He established his home and workshop in West Cork’s Sheep’s Head penninsula in 2010. As well as working on commissions, Victor pursues a hobby in abstract sculpture in his spare time.
An anthropologist/archaeologist, dry stone waller and stonemason, Ken Curran has established himself as a traditional and creative stonecraft practitioner. He now specialises in Dry Stone building and old stone buildings advice and conservation, with particular emphasis on historic structures and their repair using traditional techniques and mortars.
Ken absolutely loves dry stone building – it is his passion and obsession. He also dabbles in carving in relief and letters as well as some sculpture.
I began my journey working with stone over fifteen years ago in Galway city. I was working with a landscaping company and the boss had bought an old 17th century Norman castle, which we proceeded to restore. I was hooked!
I had built a good bit with stone at that stage and was really enjoying it, but once we started putting in the cut stone for the spiral staircase, window frames, and door arches, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
I met the guys who carved the stones. They were French journeymen who were on a year’s work experience.
After becoming friendly with them and endlessly quizzing them about their schooling, l went to France and did my apprenticeship with Les compagnon du devoir. I’ve worked on many different projects in and around Paris, le Chateau de Fontainebleau and the cathedral at Meaux to name but a few.
I returned to Ireland in 2005 and have worked on many different projects, the capitals on Mels Cathedral and more recently on the capitals of the four courts in Dublin. Working stone is an absolute pleasure for me and I feel very lucky to have it as my job.
I am a fully qualified stonecarver and stonemason, working with stone for 27 years.
I have a team of 5 employees and our main work is restoration and conservation of historic buildings and national monuments. We carve and install replacement stones, and carry out repair work and specialised stone-cleaning procedures.
Our recent projects have included work at Spike Island, Lotamore House, Inchydoney House, Dundanion House and Castle, Belvelly Castle, Ardavilling House and University College, Cork.
We carve custom-designed fireplaces, headstones, family crests, water features, and name plaques among other things, and we carry out true dry stone walling restoration of historic masonry using hot lime mortar.
I am the chairman of the Stonecarvers Guild of Ireland and the Head of Training at the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland. I also teach different types of workshops in stone carving and restoration.
Nick Aitken is a qualified instructor and examiner in dry stone walling. His experience has taken him throughout his native Scotland, USA, Canada, and Austria.
He has worked on the ‘Gathering of Stones’ – a stunning dry stone monument built by the people of Ireland for the people of Ireland across the world. The monument was developed by the Dry Stone Wall Association of Ireland as part of Ireland’s commemorations of the centenary of 1916.
Nick has offered workshops on Inis Oirr and Tirconnell. He’ll be delivering dry stone walling workshops at the West Cork Stone Symposium this March.
Having worked on dry stone walling projects throughout the UK and Internationally, Mark has a wealth of knowledge in a full range of traditional dry stone walling techniques. He works with all types of stone from Macclesfield stone, York stone, Indian stone and sand stone, and is based in Cheadle, Staffordshire. UK.
“Stone carving is something which I am passionate about. From basic stone masonry, I progressed into restoration work, and from there into stone carving.
A number of years ago, I completed an MSc. in Building and Monumental Conservation, in Edinburgh; this opened my eyes to a broad range of carving techniques. After working for a number of years on historic properties, I decided it was time to move home, and set up my own workshop. These days I am based in Shanafona, Duagh, on the Kerry/Limerick border, and focus my efforts on hand-cut lettering, headstones, sculpture, and also some architectural and restoration work.”
Jesse Bagelman has been a stone mason and stone sculptor for 22 years working on creative and traditional projects.
He trained at the Guild of Stone and Restoration Masonry in Ontario. His passion is expressed through his art and the countless projects he has undertaken over the last two decades.