Demonstration Day in Helmsley


Block of stone

Block of stone cut to size ready for the stone carving demonstration

Lots of artists began their demonstrations around Helmsley on Saturday, and I had a beautiful spot on the little road leading to Helmsley Castle and the Walled Garden – Duncombe Sawmills very kindly gave permission for me to set up in their show area (thankyou!).

I was next to Caroline Riley, who was sketching, and then painting, leaves, exquisitely giving life to her drawings with watercolour.

Caroline Riley

Caroline Riley in her ‘pop-up studio’

First thing for me was to draw the outline of my sculpture on the stone as a guide – and then get busy roughing out the shape.

Stone block for carving

Here is the stone block with the outline drawn on the surface, ready for carving

Stone carving in progress

Carving begins, initially I’m roughing out the shape and removing stone I don’t need

At this stage the stone can look a bit hacked at, but it is all part of the process and I can begin to see the shape coming.

Stone Sculpture progress

Once the bulk of stone is taken away I then re-draw my shape, so that I know just where to begin carving in the details and refining the sculpture.

In one day of demonstrating, alongside talking to visitors and explaining my process, what tools I’m using (and why) and discussing the merits of different types of stone, the sculpture didn’t get finished, but hopefully began to be recognisable!

Thanks to all who came to watch – I had a wonderful day.  Thankyou also to the lady who gave me the beans and courgette, just freshly picked from her vegetable garden (our demo area was next to her beautiful patch), I had them for supper and they tasted very good!

It’s compelling watching artists at work, I find – have you seen demonstrations that you’ve really enjoyed?  Or one that has maybe inspired you to take up a craft or creative project?  It is actually how I got started carving and sculpting – seeing stone masons at the quarry and feeling roused and full of admiration!




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