Week two of my quest to connect the BIM pencil to skilled trades. Riding North by train to Barnsley, the town I grew up in. Staying with my cousin. Pictures of the BBCS, Edwardian Baroque? Grade 2 listed. Memories of the restaurant on the top floor where my grandma waited on tables when I was very young.

A trip to Burnley to visit Karl Claydon, master plasterer. Posing with my cousin in his workshop, Karl at the door saying farewell. An ornate ceiling rose in process of assembly on his bench.

Some examples of his artistry along well worn classical themes

Three versions of Acanthus leaf. Two palmettes, reminiscent of the anthemion motif, beloved by John Soane. A bucket of lime putty which I learnt improves with age like wine or whisky. Indeed you can buy “mature lime putty” which actually feels different between thumb and finger!

How many young plasterers can improvise on the Acanthus leaf theme today I wonder? Why have we drawn a line between dexterity and design, placing them in…

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