The Roots of All Meaning - 25/06/18

Dr. Stephen L’Normand is a Master stonemason and sculptor. He is one of the twelve Guild Masters currently practicing worldwide, and is Head Master of The Guild of St. Stephen and St. George. Dr L’Normand also carries out his own projects under the name “Fossar”, the Icelandic word for ‘waterfalls’.

For over four decades Stephen has worked on and produced carved pieces for many prestigious buildings and heritage and arts organisations such as the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, the Vatican complex, Somerset House, Windsor Castle, the V&A and the Palace of Westminster. His recent projects deal with themes of movement and colour, sound creation and the suppression of sound pollution, the improvement of air quality and the attraction of wildlife. He merges classical stoneworking techniques and materials with the latest cutting-edge technologies. At present he is undertaking a carving project that will test his skills and push the boundaries of technical sculpture. The piece will be carved from a cubic metre of Carrara marble. Stephen will use some musical phrases—from a piece written specifically for this project by the acclaimed composer Roger Eno—as guides to proportion and for the creation of mood. The numerology of the Norse Yggdrasil, the Tao wishing tree, and work by Nikola Tesla will also play a part in the design, and visual glissandi and portamenti will enhance the sense of movement in the piece. 
Proportional and practical techniques dating from ancient Greece will be used including Archimedean harmonic proportion and hand polishing. The marble sculpture will be completely pierced to recreate the sensation of looking through the branches and foliage of a tree; the highest leaves will be more detailed and highly polished than the lower to signify the evolution of spirit. Nine rivulets of water will be directed down the trunk to coalesce into three triads; each triad will fall into a well under one of Yggdrasil's roots to create an audible chord matching the visual chord represented in the proportion of the piece. 
Stephen will give a series of talks during this project, covering the use of numerological and harmonic proportion, contemporary and antique carving techniques, and the ways in which he employs these to realise his vision. The finished piece will be exhibited with a film of the working process and voice recordings explaining the techniques and philosophy of the piece, alongside music, poetry and dance performances.  

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