Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Stone Carving Course

At the weekend I was surrounded by a lovely group attending one of my stone carving courses.  I do enjoy having lots of chipping, chiselling and sculpting around me.  Lots of other people's hammers and chisels tapping away, creating.  It makes for a very special atmosphere.

I try and get everyone to select their piece of stone, put it on their 'banker' (the name for a stone-carver's workbench), and start work on it as soon as possible on day one.  So often, if someone hasn't carved before, there can be a nervousness and hesitation initially, a concern about doing damage or taking off too much stone,  and the best thing is just to get underway, make a mark, and get the feel of chisel cutting through the stone.

Very quickly everyone is engrossed, and making sculptural decisions and feeling much more confident.

It is so exciting to see all the work developing, the ideas and intentions for the stone.  Everyone has their own way of approaching a sculpture, some working freely allowing a piece to evolve, others are meticulous to every detail and sharply accurate, some abstract and some figurative, it's so intriguing to see the progress.

We start by drawing the design on the stone, then begin to rough out, taking away all the surplus stone.   So the group firstly drew the front view of their image, and all the stone outside that line was removed.  They then progressed to the side view, and did the same, ditto with the top view.  This was the roughing out complete, leaving a rather square, blockish sculpture. 

Then to the really fun part, the detailing, fine-tuning, adjusting, perfecting and finishing -  and truly seeing the results of all the labour.

I'm amazed  how hard everyone works, we have a few aching muscles and some wear and tear, but a lot of smiling proud faces and some beautiful stone carving.


  1. Jennifer...thankyou for reading the potters house post. I am thrilled to find your blog. We went to Barbara Herworth's garden for the first time last year and were blown away. We hope t0o go back again for inspiration this August.Love the workshop in the photos.

  2. I'm so glad you came to say hello too - welcome! I have to admit that I haven't been to the Barbara Hepworth garden - it is pressing on my to do list. I'm also looking forward to visiting the new Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

  3. I ove the idea of stone carving but I can't imagine doing it . I'm sure it requires a methodical approach so as to leave a bit of stone on for what you want to detail later. My haphazard approach to work would mean I'd be gluing bits back on!

  4. My goodness Jackie - there's nothing haphazard about how your work comes to fruition! I suspect you would be rather good at stone carving - see you've even thought about leaving stone there for detail already!

  5. Hi Jennifer,

    Where do you get the mallets from? Have tried to source these for my father (who is a stone mason), but they are hard to find in Australia.



    1. Hello Martin, I get mine from Harbro Supplies

      You will have to ask if they ship.

      Latham Australia supply chisels and dummy mallets, and also mention the larger mallets, you'll have to enquire

      If all else fails, let me know and I'll send one!


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