Part Two of a series about City Guides – I cajoled the guides to tell their own stories. It was a great way to catch up with some of the lovely people I’d trained with in 2006. Part One also appeared in CityGuide Magazine, and is here.
I met up with Judy Stephenson one morning in St Mary Abchurch, headquarters of the Friends of the City Churches. Judy is an active member, and editor of their magazine Skyline. As well as having the pleasure of exchanging news with Judy, I was on a mission. I’m the founder and curator of a very small Museum of Dust, one of my ongoing projects, and wanted to add a minute sample of dust from the church’s Grinling Gibbons reredos to add to my rather eclectic collection.
Sadly the screen was too high, Health & Safety rules precluded me from standing on a chair or ladder to reach it, and in any case the church was far too well dusted. I spotted a splendid unicorn in the church, made by seventeenth century wood carver William Emmett (according to the church’s leaflet), but sadly this too was dust free. Unicorn dust is appropriately very rare.
As I was chatting to Judy in the sunny churchyard, three visitors arrived to discuss this year’s Grinling Gibbons 300: Carving a Place in History festival, each of them wearing a small but exquisite pearwood carving in their lapel, created by master carver Hugh Wedderburn, one of the visitors. He has kindly agreed to my visiting his studio, where I hope to collect a sample of dust from a contemporary wood carver’s workshop. As usual, the City is full of surprises, and meanwhile, my unicorn dust quest continues. …