Sicamous stone mason carves local niche

Monument maker/restorer earns respect with restoration of local cenotaph.

Kirk Birdsey stands next to the Sicamous cenotaph

Stone mason Kirk Birdsey is building a business foundation in Sicamous.

Birdsey recently started up Reflections in Stone. He designs and builds monuments, largely for cemeteries. He also does monument markers for deceased pets, custom landscape rock, rock signs and “pretty much anything made with granite.” He also specializes in monument restoration work.

Residents may have recently seen Birdsey at the Sicamous Legion cenotaph, where he was applying his trade to restore the community monument. He said the painstaking work took about a week, and involved, among other things, redoing the lettering of some 300 words etched in the stone.

“On the parking lot side you couldn’t even read it, there was no paint in the letters at all – how do you get the paint in the letters without spraying it all over the stone? You have to know what you’re doing,” said Birdsey.

The restoration work also included bringing out the etchings and fixing up the base.

All of this was done pro bono by Birdsey.

Legion president Chris Wilson said Birdsey did a beautiful job, noting a lot of people stopped by the monument as Birdsey was working and thanked him.

“He did a brilliant job, he’s got a real eye for detail for sure,” said Wilson, adding Birdsey would be doing similar work with the Malakwa cenotaph, and may be providing additional monument pieces for the Sicamous cenotaph to honour both emergency responders and those who have served their country in one capacity or another in recent years.

Birdsey says he grew up in a “monument family” in Ontario, where he picked up the trade at an early age.

“You really can’t teach people how to do this trade,” said Birdsey. “You either grew up in it or you have no idea. People can have the general gist of it, but from start to finish it’s quite an elaborate experience.”

Birdsey noted he is also a drummer and teaches drumming on the side.

Asked what brought Birdsey to Sicamous, the story begins back in 1988, when a mishap with the band he was touring with led him to stay a while.

“I came here with a band in ’88 – I don’t even remember the band… but they lost my drums on the train, so I was forced to hang around Sicamous,” said Birdsey. “Then I met a girl and ended up living here for five years. And then I went back to Ontario and my dad got sick and my parents have passed away since then.

“So I’ve always had Sicamous close to heart; I’ve always come back here for vacation.”

While granite may be hard and long lasting, Birdsey emphasized how there’s no room for error and no shortcuts when making a monument. Even when it comes to polishing the stone.

“The polish is in the stone, you have to bring it out,” said Birdsey. “So many people I’ve met think you just lacquer it… that’s not the truth. You need diamond and water and lots of patience.”

For more information, Birdsey can be reached at 1-250-253-3772.

 

Just Posted

Eagles downed by Steam in Summerland

Sicamous team hope to improve fortunes in upcoming games against Kamloops and Castlegar

CSRD wants immediate Provincial action to fund Newsome Creek study

Erosion along the creek is causing hazardous situation for residents

New trustees sworn in for North Okanagan-Shuswap School District

First official board meeting set for Tuesday, Nov. 20

Need outstrips funds at Shuswap Children’s Association

Raffle to help provide vital services to children with developmental delays or disabilities

Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ fall in close 3-2 loss against Merritt Centennials

Home ice winning streak brought to a close by division leaders

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

Crash closes Highway 33 south of Kelowna

Estimated time of re-opening is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Most Read