What Is The Future Of Ornate Gravestones?

As one of the world’s oldest crafts, stonemasonry has a place in the past, present and future, aiming to preserve the former whilst being mindful of their impact on the latter.

A good example of how stonemasons look at the past and the future at the same time is when it comes to gravestones, a reflection of past lives that aims to preserve the memories of people long into the future.

There are countless traditions when it comes to respecting the dead and conserving their legacy, but the stones and minerals traditionally used for headstones can lead to increasing environmental costs if the supply of such stones needs to be imported.

This is often a necessity when it comes to restorations or projects that cannot be completed without certain types of stone, but a Danish stonemason, Nikolaj Tymm-Andersen, believes there is another way.

Whilst the UK sees a wide variety of different headstones made from various minerals owing to the diversity of the British geological landscape, the traditional stone of choice in Denmark has always been granite.

This has become a growing concern as local supplies have dwindled and become more expensive, leading many suppliers to import their granite from China and India, with consequent carbon costs.

Mr Tymm-Andersen opted for a much more local material, one that is easy to acquire and already widely used in the local area: clay.

Already used as a building material, clay can be fired and create a wide range of unique designs, providing an enduring memory of a loved one, whilst reducing the impact of the stone on their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s futures.

This, alongside a push for more native flowers and grass to adorn graveyards, signposts a potential change for how people preserve and mark their legacies, and stonemasons are leading the way towards a more sustainable future.