Slate has been mined and quarried in Cumbria for hundreds of years, and Liam is a fourth-generation member of a slate-working family. For eight months he has been working at Coniston Stonecraft, the last slate manufacturers in the South Lakes. Established in 1976, the company creates bespoke and luxury handmade British slate products.
With support from QEST, Liam’s two year apprenticeship will cover all aspects of the work including selecting slate clog mined from the local quarries, riving, splitting, cutting, edging, polishing, coring, engraving, linishing and waxing. He will complete his studies one day a week at Furness College, Cumbria, and also upgrade his computer skills by learning CAD design and CNC manufacture.
Liam hopes to become a qualified slate mason and a highly skilled crafts person and sees himself having a long career at Coniston Stonecraft. His longer term aim is not just to help manufacture the company’s current range of household and kitchen products but to design and manufacture some of his own creations such as lamps, wine racks clocks and garden structures, all of which will showcase both his skills and the inherent beauty of Westmorland green slate and Brathay blue-grey slate from the Lake District area.