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How Monks Are Machining a Monastery

You would expect to see CNC machines being used by manufacturing employees—but by monks? Perhaps not so much. Yet, the Carmelite monks of Wyoming are indeed using CNC machines to carve stone sculptures and other features for their new monastery.

The advantages: As the order’s website puts it, “Ornate pieces that used to take months for a skilled carver, now can be accomplished in a matter of days.” Thanks to CNC machines, the beauty of Gothic architecture can be produced much faster than ever before.

The process: If you are interested in the technical process of carving Gothic architecture with machines, the monks lay out their process step by step. We admit, we found this fascinating:

  • “The ornate pieces covered in foliage, the statues, the gargoyles, and many other distinct Gothic elements begin with the artist, the head carver. He sculpts the various flowers and leaves using a 3D modeling program in a process much similar to molding a ball of clay.”
  • “It still requires a great deal of artistic talent, but there is a major advantage to this work in a computer, the Undo button! The artist can experiment with an almost infinite number of designs to find the one most suited to the space.
  • “And with the ability to visualize the pieces in a full model of the church, there is no longer any guesswork as to what the finished building will look like.”

Do read the whole thing for a story that will brighten your Friday morning.

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