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A packed oyster

I have had the chance to work with some pretty amazing people over the years, including Pascal Mychalysin, the master mason at Gloucester Cathedral. This was back in 1998 when I was artist-in-residence there. One day we were up on the scaffolding looking at the work he was doing restoring some of the stonework, when he pulled out a loose piece of mortal and with it came this oyster shell. Pascal reckoned that it was put there by a medieval mason on his lunch break, stuffing the empty shell of the oyster that he had just eaten into to the crack to get rid of it. Oysters were a common food in those days, or so I was led to believe. I held onto that shell with its mortar pedestal. For a moment the centuries between then and now collapsed. That is also how I see Pascal: through his work he has a direct connection to those time that he has come to embody.

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