Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Local crafter's cathedral model sticks to the plan

Lorraine McCarthy with her model of St Anne's Cathedral

Talented east Belfast woman Lorraine McCarthy has created a tribute to one of the city's landmarks with her lollipop stick model of St Anne's Cathedral.

The model took six months to construct, with Lorraine working for up to eight hours a day cutting thousands of lollipop sticks down to size to replicate the building's stone exterior. The smaller stonework effects were achieved with matchsticks.

A self-taught crafter, Lorraine said she finds model-making relaxing and it complements her interest in history and historical buildings. Indeed, her St Anne's creation follows a castle she spent a year designing and making.

"I wanted to make a model of St Anne's because I think it's a beautiful building," Lorraine explained.

"I went to see the Dean, John Mann, to see if he had any photographs of the cathedral, just to get me started. He happened to have a model, which was just a broken cardboard cut out, which wasn't being used so he gave it to me."

Lorraine said the model isn't an exact replica of the cathedral, but is more of a representation: "I based my cathedral around the cardboard shell I was given and I also worked from postcards which showed the detail of the building."

Lorraine had to be innovative in her approach as she found it difficult to obtain some of the materials she needed.

She used souvenir postcards of the cathedral to replicate the building's stained glass windows and a knitting needle sits resplendant atop the artwork, representing the famous 'Spire of Hope'.

Lorraine said she hopes her models will inspire young people to try model-making for themselves: "I think so many children nowadays spend far too much time playing on computers and watching television and many of the more old-fashioned activities and skills are being lost.

"It takes somebody to show you how to do things and I think we should encourage the next generation to have a go at these skills and carry them on," she added.

The Dean of St Anne's, the Very Reverend John Mann, said he is "delighted" with Lorraine's creation.

"I have seen photographs of the model and Lorraine has done a great job," he said.

"She took the old, very tatty model that was lying in a dusty corner of one of the cathedral's 'hidden spaces' and has brought it up to date. I was delighted at her initiative and she's transformed it really well."

Saying that the model would be "fascinating" to show school parties when they tour the building, he added: "It really is very attractive."

Lorraine is taking a break from model-making for a while, but said she won't wait too long before getting started on the next project, most likely a reproduction of London's Tower Bridge.

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