Beakheads started out as a blog about medieval sculpture, named after one of my favourite carvings – the beakhead. These are heads with beaks or snouts, of human, animal or indeterminate form, usually found carved in stone around twelfth-century doorways or windows. Old churches, castles and cathedrals are where you’ll find them. They are a repeated motif, like a lot of architectural sculpture, but look closely and you’ll notice that, often, each one is individual, never fully replicated.
I’ve been studying medieval sculpture for years, first as an archaeologist writing a PhD, then as a cathedral stonemason at Exeter. There’s always something new to find. Not only in the stone itself and how it’s been carved but in its connections with people and landscapes. Reflecting this, Beakheads is now a place where all manner of things end up that have a connection to stone, however tenuously.
Top: Beakheads at Shebbear, Devon, c.1180s (Photo: Alex Woodcock).
Below: Me at Poltesco Serpentine Works, Cornwall, c.2014 (Photo: Jay Armstrong).