It's not often that a summer job in high school launches a 50-year career, but veteran Cathedral sculptor Jay Hall Carpenter found a way to do it.

Our friends up at the Charlotte News in Vermont caught up with Carpenter and checked out his studio. He’s a long way from his days as a student at St. Albans School, where he pushed his way into the stone shop and got himself a job.

From there, he went on to a long career sculpting gargoyles and angels at the Cathedral; most of the musical angels that adorn the Cathedral’s twin towers are his design.

From the interview:

“They were carving gargoyles at the time and I was just absolutely enraptured,” he said.

When he was 17, he finally got up enough nerve to ask for a summer job, and he was hired. So, he was running errands, sweeping floors, building crates and the like, but he was working for the sculptors of the National Cathedral.

Although the only jobs Carpenter had had were sweeping floors and delivering newspapers, he began to push his way into the creative process.

“I made a clay model of a gargoyle and brought it in with trembling knees and showed it to the master carver. He liked it well enough to have it carved to put on the building,” Carpenter said.

It was the first sculpture Carpenter had ever made, and it was part of the National Cathedral. He would go on to do hundreds of sculptures there over the years.


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

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