This is a commission in Welsh slate of two Freeminers.
“All male persons born or hereafter to be born and abiding within the said Hundred of St Briavels, of the age of twenty one years and upwards, who shall have worked a year and a day in a coal or iron mine within the said Hundred of St Briavels, shall be deemed and taken to be Free Miners.” the Dean Forest (Mines) Act 1838.
I was provided with this drawing which was done over 100 yrs ago.
The client commissioned Jackie Cox to complete the legs in order to make it a whole picture.
I decided to use slate as it is a very compact stone, capable of receiving fine detail, it is also a very durable material and will withstand the ravages of time without being populated by lichens and algaes-too soon!
I made a template by drawing around the outside of the two figures, once I had scribed this on the surface of the slate and marked a border I then proceeded to cut out the slate.
I then had an island in the middle to carve the Freeminers. I pricked through the template onto the slate to give me some guidelines to carve to. I had to use a little bit of artistic license to fill in some of the areas that weren’t very clear on the drawing.
I worked on the areas that I knew were the deepest points, I then concentrated on the faces as this would give me the ultimate depth to work to for the rest of the carving.
I carefully carved some folds in the clothing of the figures. Possibly father and Son. The boy had his pipe behind his front teeth, this proved a challenge to carve. Then finally going over the whole carving to tidy up all the details.
This carving represents approximately 16hrs of carving!