Two years ago, after doing work experience with a company called Teamforce in Northumberland, Laura decided to commit to learning the craft of stonemasonry. Previously she had been working in architecture for ten years, so this was quite a departure, but thankfully she has never looked back!
This meant that she had to go right back to square one with her training. By the time Laura was awarded her scholarship she had already funded and completed a full time Level 2 Diploma at York College and managed to secure a four year apprenticeship at York Minster. The scholarship has enabled Laura to manage this transition financially, and has also made it possible for her to do additional courses such as Letter Cutting with Tom Perkins at West Dean College.
The work Laura is undertaking at York Minster is very varied. Primarily she is masoning (entirely by hand) replacement stones which can often be very complex. She is also involved with conservation works, learning a great deal about working with lime and other appropriate conservation materials and techniques. Laura is back at college, part-time, doing a Level 3 Diploma where she is relishing the opportunity to literally 'get back to the drawing board'. Laura's original architectural training was all about drawing boards and Rotring pens so she is really enjoying refamiliarising herself with technical drawing and is, in turn, learning a lot about architectural geometry and medieval craftsmanship.
At the moment Laura is concentrating on learning as much as she can from all of the people around her. She has an open mind about where this apprenticeship will lead her. She is hoping to do either the Cathedral Workshops Fellowship through Gloucester Uni or the SPAB fellowship in the future, but if not she hopes to continue working to develop her craft and drawing skills perhaps even with a mind to teaching part-time, to ensure these skills continue to be passed on to future generations.