Gary Churchman: Making stone sing
Gary Churchman has been carving stone for more than 30 years, embracing a wide range of sculpture, lettering and ornamental relief-work. Much of his work concerns architectural restoration, and often involves the painstaking re-creation of intricate pieces from scraps of evidence or fragments of the original.
On leaving school, Gary’s first impulse was to work in photography, but an advertisement for a stonemasonry apprenticeship caught his eye and led him to work in a traditional monumental stoneyard in Luton. Gary comes from a creative and technically adept family, so he was naturally inclined towards arts and crafts.
While at the stoneyard, he met sculptor Rosemary Slinn, who inspired him to approach monumental stone carving in a more sculptural way.
After his apprenticeship, Gary took an art foundation course, followed by a three-year honours degree in Fine Art Sculpture at Newcastle Polytechnic (now the University of Northumbria). Graduating in 1983, he began work as a freelance stone carver and sculptor, and has remained so ever since.
His wide-ranging work has included a number of projects related to historic parks and gardens, including Hampton Court in Surrey and Chiswick House in London. His most recent work has been on the restoration of the Darnley Mausoleum at Cobham Park in Kent.