Dust Monkey

Dusty boots

A few years ago whilst exhibiting at Art in Action at Waterperry House I visited the woodcarving marquee.  One of the craftsmen was carving oak – a beautiful run of oak leaves and acorns – so I went over for a closer look and to ask questions.  Anyway, I ended up having a go – I was surprised by the feel of working wood in contrast to stone.  He asked if I had carved before, which I never had, wood that is, although told him I did carve stone – oh, a dust monkey, he said.  It was an expression I’d never heard before.

Certainly it is a dusty business, working stone.  I looked it up when I got home.

Dust Monkey – originally a trainee in an asbestos mine who cleared the fine carcinogenic fibres off the tram lines  – but now any lowly employee who is tasked with any unpleasant, dangerous or tedious job.

Dust mask

Of course I ignored the second bit, but there is a point about the dust.  Stone dust can be a problem and stones high in silica – which most sandstones are, and other stone dusts can cause lung problems.  I just wear a mask.

Dusty yes, monkey ?

Wouldn’t swap it for anything though.






  1. Comment by countrysidetales:

    I love the expression dust monkey- that could be your blog moniker!

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Its great isn’t it – I’m wondering now if I should sign my work with it too!

  2. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    I produce a lot of glass dust in the grinding stage of my finish work. Some of it is wet work so it gets caught up in the water, except for what gets slung onto me from the vertical grinder. And then the dry grinding. I wear a mask for that.

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      Slung with glass dust! I try to sand wet too – in fact in summer I damp the shed floor in the evenings, which keeps the dust down the following day. (Makes for a lovely sweet wet stone smell first thing too!).

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