Fancy a new hobby? Try this Rotherham man's creative lockdown idea

A Rotherham man has come up with a great lockdown craft idea, inspired by dry-stone walling.
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Stuart Mitchell, who lives in Masbrough, has used the sort of ornamental stone you put on garden borders to create stone sculptures of different sizes, from little candle holders to a huge dragon’s head.

Stuart, who has an engineering background, said: “I did a National Trust session for a day, drystone walling, when I was out of work.

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"I really enjoyed it and got quite good at it. It just came naturally to me.

Stuart Mitchell's model of a dragon's head which has taken him six months to makeStuart Mitchell's model of a dragon's head which has taken him six months to make
Stuart Mitchell's model of a dragon's head which has taken him six months to make

“One day I had a bright idea. I can’t drive so I can’t go to an official course on it to take it up as a career.

"I thought why don’t I make a small version of it?

"I made an experiment with some glue that I found that glues stones together.”

Stuart said that he started off by making a model drystone wall that is around 400mm long and went on to create some candle holders.

Stuart's stone candle holderStuart's stone candle holder
Stuart's stone candle holder
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He put his engineering skills to use to make a mini pyramid, planning it out with drawings and using cardboard guides to keep the shape symmetrical as he built it.

Stuart has also started building a windmill but his major project has been the dragon’s head, inspired by the dragon Smaug in the film The Hobbit.

“There’s 10,000 stones in it,” said Stuart. “It’s taken me a good six months to make.”

Stuart, who recently lost his job as an order picker for Next, added: “It’s quite cathartic. It takes your mind off your worries. You lose track of time when you’re doing it.”

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He said that a candle holder takes a couple of days to make.

It’s only possible to add a few stones at a time and then he has to leave the glue to dry, otherwise the design will go out of shape with the weight of the stones on top.

Stuart wanted to tell Star readers about his hobby as he thought it might help others to have a go during lockdown.

He thinks it could be an enjoyable hobby for anyone to try – all you need is a bag of stones and the glue, so it’s not expensive to get going.

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Anyone who wants to get in touch with Stuart can email [email protected]

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor