Yorkshire Ridings Magazine May 2014: Head First

Gaynor Pearson, Sculptor


For Yorkshire Ridings Magazine this month, I headed over to Masham to meet sculptor Gaynor Pearson.


The stone-built town of Masham nestles by the banks of the River Ure

The stone-built town of Masham nestles by the banks of the River Ure

Gaynor Pearson is living the dream of turning her hobby into her job.


Gaynor, who used to work in IT, discovered stone carving in 2000. After several years, and several courses, in 2010 she swapped IT for art when, with friends, she founded ArtisOn in Masham, near Ripon, Yorks.


ArtisOn is a workshop where lots of artists teach lots of workshops in skills ranging from paper making to jewellery enamelling, from clay pot making to blacksmithing. And, of course, stone carving, taught by Gaynor herself.


She says, “We have around 40 tutors, all of whom

Gaynor Pearson in her workshop

Gaynor Pearson in her workshop

commercially in their field.” Some workshops are for beginners, others are for more advanced students. A good lunch and a good chat with like-minded people form part of the day, and the workshop resounds with good-humoured laughter.


When Gaynor teaches, she passes on her love of carving stone. Workshop delegates – even beginners – take home something they’ve made.


Shaping stone to an idea inside an artist’s head is a human activity that has gone on for thousands of years. Often the only traces left of a civilisation are the worked stones that archaeologists uncover. Therefore, says Gaynor, “I get a sense of tradition from using hand tools that haven’t changed in thousands of years. People get satisfaction from absorption in trying to get the stone to show something.”


Read more about Gaynor’s work in Yorkshire Ridings Magazine, May 2014 issue, out now.


Contact Gaynor at the ArtisOn website,




About Helen Johnson

Freelance writer specialising in Yorkshire's history and heritage.

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