THE ANIMALS OF PIPPA UNWIN
The fact that she loves animals is reflected in her work. It is also evident when looking at her web page at www.mewstonemasonry.com. This address as chosen not only because her husband lived near the little rocky island off Plymouth known as the Mewstone, but because it also contains the word Mew, the English onomatopoeia for the cat’s meow.
Stonemasonry is also part of the web address. To explain we need to back up a bit. It was always Pippa Unwin’s dream to illustrate children’s books, a vocation which led to some success. Gradually the scene for illustrators was shifting, she writes, “The work changed and was less fulfilling.”
She mentions nothing of a search for new challenges let alone of a crisis. But already during her school years at Wells Cathedral School,stonemasonry caught her interest, as she had always been fascinated by the stonecarvings in the cathedral.
So she decided to try her hand at sculpting. The material was all the same to her, that is until she heard of an apprenticeship for stonemasonry. Her then husband, a geologist, supported her interest, so she made up her mind, “The apprenticeship was cheap, relatively nearby and flexible, so that it fitted in with my 8 year-old twins’ school day, so I enrolled in that.”
After her apprenticeship she worked part time for a stone mason completing her qualification and began working full time all the way up to company director. By then she had begun doing freelance sculpture as well.
Her webpage makes little mention of art. She explains: “For a long time I was working predominately as a stonemason, to pay the bills. But in the last couple of years I have seen myself more as an artist and sculptor.”
This is also due to the fact that the area around Devon, her current home, has less traditional work for stonemasons. So she turned to new frontiers.
But her work for interior and exterior decoration still plays an important role. She is a member of the South Hams Art Forum and the South West Sculptors Association. Among other places, she exhibits her work at Delamore Arts in the Southwest of England and the Artparks Sculpture Park on the English island of Guernsey.