European Stone Festival 2012

For centuries stonemasons and stone carvers have been building cathedrals. Some still do, and this weekend about hundred stone masons from 18 different countries participated in the European Stone Festival. This year for the first time in Norway, in my home town of Trondheim. Here stone masons started to build the Nidarosdomen Cahtedral about 1000 year ago. And in the yard of the former archbishops, todays practitioners of the old craft worked hard all weekend. They all were to make a sculpture from the fairy tales, using a piece of stone, soapstone. That’s the material used for this cathedral, the biggest in Northern Europe.
I don’t know who made the best fairy tale stone, but it was so interesting to see these people working. There are some photos here, and more photos in my photo gallery.

47 thoughts on “European Stone Festival 2012

  1. This is absolutely fascinating ! Will they use these on the cathedral? I also wonder how many belong to the Freemasons? It’s so encouraging to learn that this art is being kept alive and thriving. Great post!


  2. Fabulous Bente. When I was at Uni in Stirling, Scotland they were renovating the castle and had many stonemasons repairing the old stonework. It’s fascinating to watch these people at work. Great Post!


  3. What a wonderful sight, it is interesting to see that most of the people photographed creating the sculptures are young, so carrying forward an ancient craft.


  4. There is something very exciting about working in stone. Usually it is a solitary occupation, and so having a festival like this, combines a social element to the art work. Your pictures tell a very graceful story.


  5. I want the owl, I want the owl! What a wonderful event. I would have been beside myself to see something like that. Now that is worth going on a trip to see. Such a connection to the old world. You can see what a job it was to be able to carve something to be befitting for the church and that is not even to say what goes into the structure.

    Bishop Museum was built from Basalt that was quarried right on the property. Charles Bishop was deathly afraid of the museum burning down such as happened in China town in the 1800’s. That stone work adds so much to the museum and it does not even come near what those stone masons are doing with their craft that you wrote about.


  6. It is good to learn that there are still so many active stonemasons. I’ve not heard of any similar event in the UK, Your pictures capture the atmosphere of the occasion quite beautifully.


  7. Hi Bente,

    Thanks for sharing this Stone Festival, looks very interesting. I wonder if there is any festival I could see during my visit this August. I’m flying to Norway on 11 August 2012. I look forward to see your beautiful country! 🙂

    Mafey 🙂


      1. I’ll be visiting Oslo and will see if possible to go to Bergen with my limited time. Thank you very much for the link Bente. I see there’s also food festival 🙂


  8. I thought your photographs were excellent–I actually enjoyed your wide, group shot the most, for those can be difficult to make interesting.

    The subjects saddened me. It takes a great deal of skill to work stone, and I admire anyone for learning this, but it was disappointing to me to see what was, in my opinion, the low-level artistry evident in most of the works (unplanned asymmetry, uncreative childish cartoonish features…). It is hard to imagine any of these folk creating gargoyles, for example, that could hold their own next to the originals.

    The last two, the gnome (though I am not fond of these as subjects) and, most particularly, the graceful lines of that owl, do display a higher level of artistic skill.

    Thanks for a peek into an event of which I knew nothing.


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