Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Lettercutting in Stone

Brrrr... the mornings over the last few days have been so cold, back to deep frosts and ice.  Not easy going for cutting of delicate letters in stone - my fingers just wont get moving properly and feel all thick and numb.  I've been doing the exercises everyone suggests when your hands are cold, (which don't work anything like quickly enough, if at all!) of flailing my arms in circles in the air, or out to the sides and back round my body.  I've tucked my chisels inside my overalls to warm through and done fast jogging on the spot, but in the end had to ignore it and just get on despite now blowing thick, white breath clouds in front of my work.

Luckily the sun has soon broken through, and I've moved outside to feel the warmth of it.  It also creates wonderful light to see my letters, casting shadows and outlining starkly my wobbly lines for correction.  I keep going over the cut, shaving a little off at a time, to get the curve and even straightness required.  It is a very satisfying sensation to have the (sharp) chisel cut through the stone, and leave the crisp, clean line of a letter's edge.  And I've forgotten the cold.


  1. The cold weather we all complain about must be particularly trying for someone who works outside with cold materials. Your gorgeous lettering doesn't look anything other than perfect to me. What happens if you accidently take too much out? Are you able to correct it or do you have to start again? The fox is lovely btw. Lucky new owners.

  2. Truly amazing work Jennifer, and looks wonderful in the natural light. When i was at school, i did a couple of weeks work experience with a lettercutter from West Acre - who worked in slate, so i can appreciate the skill and discipline needed to create such wonderful pieces.
    I have the same problem with cold hands,(our heating decided to pack up this year!) and resorted to lots of warm drinks to help. Hopefully the warm weather is on it's way : )

  3. Thanks for all sympathies about the cold, some days I feel more feeble and cold than others, but I'm tiring of it now - as you say roll on warmer weather!

    With the lettering, if you take off too much, sometimes (if it is only a tiny bit) you can just make all the letters bigger to absorb the mistake - mostly it goes in the skip and you start again!

    I've never worked slate, I think it is even more exacting and fine than my sandstone. Must try it sometime.


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