Stonemason Karen prepares to make her mark at iconic Glasgow Necropolis

A stonemason honing her craft at City of Glasgow College will see her work take pride of place at the city’s iconic Necropolis.

Karen Gemmell, from Mauchline, has crafted pillars that are scheduled to be installed at the 37-acre site as part of her stonemasonry course at City of Glasgow College, which she studies as part of an apprenticeship with The National Trust for Scotland at Culzean Castle.

The former Auchinleck Academy pupil, who was mentored during the project by college stonemasonry expert Anthony Cameron, said it was “special” to create a piece of work that will be admired by visitors to the Victorian cemetery, adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral, for years to come. The pillars will act as ‘routefinders’ and will each feature a mason’s mark to denote the individual responsible for its sculpture.

She said: “Crafting the pillars for the Necropolis has been a really interesting piece of work, with a variety of skills required. Because of where the pillars are going, I wanted to make a really good job of them.

“It is special to work on something that will be there for years to come, and that’s the main reason I decided to get into stonemasonry.”

Karen is set to complete her apprenticeship with The National Trust for Scotland in 2018. This summer, the college’s stonemasonry workshop, as well as many of its other specialist facilities, will move to the brand-new City Campus that forms the final instalment of City of Glasgow College’s £228million supercampus development.

Twenty-two-year-old Karen has her future clearly mapped out. She said: “I was always interested in architecture and studied sculpture before going into stonemasonry. I would like to work on a mixture of projects, including more elaborate creations.”

City of Glasgow College lecturer Anthony Cameron (pictured) said sculpting the pillars proved a valuable experience for Karen and her classmates.

He said: “This is quite different from other course work the students have done. They have to finish it to a high quality because the route finders will all be in a public place, so they have to make them perfect.

“They are using a lot of new skills that are different from their usual course work.”