Last week I was fortunate enough to take part in a workshop at Plus design expo by stone carver Gabriel Hummerston, who over the course of the festival carved a headstone for the great John Baskerville. Apparently as an atheist Baskerville was buried in unconsecrated ground a his home. When a canal was to be built through his home he was moved to a nearby church and then on to Warstone lane cemetery, where many great Birmingham industrialist such as John Cadbury have been laid to rest. He doesn’t have a headstone at the cemetery so in a fitting tribute Gabriel carved him one in Baskervilles’ own typeface to be placed at the cemetery.
As mentioned in other posts, I love people with dedication to their chosen craft and Gabriel really knows his stuff. In an age of laser engraving/cutting it was great to see someone like Gabriel keeping up a tradition that we are sadly losing to technology. Whilst chatting to him and watching him work it became clear Gabriel was a man with a passion for type and letter forms. He had spent the last 8 years perfecting roman serifs, which he said he had “JUST” got the hang of!
What struck me about hand engraving was the purity of the letter forms. The human element making each glyph different to the next. It had a really tangible quality. Stone carving had never really crossed my thought process until this, but after chatting to Gabriel and watching him work I really believe I could tell hand carved stone from machine lasered stuff.
A fitting tribute to a legend of print and type. The cemetery is right by my work, so once it’s put in position I’ll post up some photo’s.