Moira Morriss, Founder of Moira Morriss Memorials
Specialising in designing, making and installing bespoke memorials, headstones and cremation plaques
When I was studying Fine Art at university, I fell head over heels in love with stone. It’s the one medium where I achieve complete freedom of expression, and all the things which may deter some people from working with it – the dust; the smell; the weight; the dirt – have brought me nothing but joy for the last 30 years.
Post-graduation, I pursued my passion with vigour and completed a City & Guilds course; then I embarked upon a career as an architectural stone carver and project manager. Starting out in restoration, I had the pleasure of working on some big London-based projects – including Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and Liverpool Street Station – before I moved to the Midlands and became a mum to two daughters.
Carving memorials and headstones is something I’ve always done on the side throughout my career, and I continued to keep my hand in as the girls were growing up; however, it was only a couple of years ago that I decided to fly solo.
The turning point was a tattoo my daughter had done, which says: ‘If not now, when?’ As a woman in her fifties, I was so inspired by that phrase I handed in my notice. Today, I’m proud to have established a business that’s professional, yet personal and caring.
My approach to the actual stonework has always been to make the process as gentle and supportive as possible. I fully understand that, at such a very difficult time, creating a lasting memorial to a loved one can often be a daunting prospect. This month, I’m enrolling on a training programme delivered by The Grief Recovery Method, which will further equip me to offer practical solutions to clients who are coping with loss and bereavement.
When I’m not working on a memorial, I’ll pick up a block of stone and carve for the sheer love of it. I call this my ‘playtime’ because there’s no pressure… I can explore my creative muse like I did when I was a student and just go with the flow. I’ve had some of my pieces exhibited at galleries, which is great because it mixes things up and keeps me feeling fresh!