Cupar stonemason receives prestigious accolade

Stonemason Kenny McCaffrey, 40, of Cupar, who works for Historic Scotland, has been chosen as one of the four 2011 William Morris Craft Fellows.
Stonemason Kenny McCaffrey, 40, of Cupar, who works for Historic Scotland, has been chosen as one of the four 2011 William Morris Craft Fellows.

A CUPAR stonemason selected to share his skills with children in one of New York’s most deprived areas, has been awarded another prestigious accolade.

After spending 10 years labouring in the construction industry Kenny McCaffrey discovered he had a natural aptitude for stone masonry.

Since then the time-served painter and decorator has worked on many of Scotland’s iconic buildings and has cut and built voussiors for St Andrew’s Cathedral, coping stones for Stirling Castle and string course mouldings and lintels for Castle Campbell.

Kenny (40) also constructed dry stone walling for Carlugie earth house and did pointing at Iona Abbey.

Working mainly in sandstone he has a natural ability to work out how to cut a stone and enjoys passing on his experience to others.

Explaining that he ‘carves for pleasure’, Kenny recently travelled to Virginia, USA, as a prize for a stone working competition.

During his trip he spent time with Jimmy Price at Jefferson House learning about lime.

Kenny also took part in an outreach programme for children in Harlem teaching them how to use masonry chisels – safely.

Kenny is now one of just three stonemasons and one plasterer, chosen to become a 2011 William Morris Craft Fellow by The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

The William Morris Craft Fellowship scheme aims to foster a new generation of outstanding craftsmen and women with the knowledge and expertise to pass on the skills that are essential when working with historic fabric.

The 2011 Fellows will take part in a prestigious six-month programme of visits taking them to projects and workshops in all parts of the country.

In the months ahead they will learn about traditional building techniques from skilled craftsmen and women who have already established careers in the field.

The aim is for the new crop of Fellows to gain broad, hands-on experience and knowledge to enable them to bring a strong awareness of craft diversity to their future professional roles.

The Fellowship will also equip them with the skills necessary to lead and manage historic building contracts, while deepening their understanding of the importance of gentle repair.

Interest in craft building skills is steadily increasing as people turn to more sustainable and traditional methods of construction.

Yet, ironically, these same skills are under threat as fewer young people are encouraged to pursue careers in these areas.