Stone Carving Course – September 2014


Everyone was keen to get started on my Autumn stone carving course.  It is always lovely to discover what everyone has decided to make.  Some of the carvers brought with them pictures and sketchbooks with designs they would like to achieve – others were open to suggestions and letting the stone help them decide.

carving begins

abstract shape

There were different stones to choose from – sandstone, limestone and soapstone.  Such different ideas began to emerge.  Some chose to carve ‘in the round’ (a wholly three dimensional piece),  and others carved in relief (a shallower, flatter carving rising from a background).

A soapstone carving begins

Once the rough outlines were carved, we had lots of discussion about how pieces would progress.  At this stage the carvers were beginning to become more familiar with the tools, and more confident.  There was a lovely stage at lunchtime when we stood back and looked at the progress, and decisions began to be made about the afternoon carving.

abstract carving

The abstract shape progresses and a hollow appears!

Abstract sculpture

refining the carving

You can tell this piece will be full of character.  Here the profile  is being carved to get the overall shape, onto which detail and owl personality can be sculpted.

owl stone carving

owl carving

This piece had a lot of detail and areas that needed careful handling for a first-time carver, which were negotiated with verve and this marvelous Gruffalo emerged.

Gruffalo stone carving

Though soapstone is quite soft to carve, and progress can be quick, time certainly needs to be spent in rubbing down the stone if a polish is required (this is done wet with fine sandpaper).  This carving combines the rough, tooled elements very successfully with a polished section.  The colour in the stone too was used to great effect.

stone being rubbed down

soapstone fish carving

stone carving of fish

A relief carving of a face which was slowly and carefully shaped and carved. Although we think we know the head and face shape, it is sometimes tricky to get the proportions and relation of features, nose, mouth and chin to look balanced.  A great success, especially the ‘almost smile’ achieved.

relief carved face

face stone carving

One of the carvers wanted learn lettercutting in stone, so we went through the cutting of a V section letter and also how to carve relief letters.

lettering in stone

stone carved letters

Everyone worked so hard over the two days, and the achievements certainly show this.  There were some tired and dusty, but very proud carvers taking home their stones at the end of the course.  Well done all!