My latest projects and commissions

22 March, 2017 – 8:21 pm

I have been busy hand carving many different types of stones into some interesting sculptures, house names and memorials.

When carrying out commissions it is important for me to be able to communicate my ideas to people but also to make sure that I have understood the requirements of my customers. These drawings show the designs that I used for the commission to carve some relief carvings which will be built into a house near Loch Ness in Scotland. The property once belonged to a member of Led Zeppelin so my customer wanted me to use the idea of The Hermit an image used on one of their album covers. Obviously I wasn’t going to copy this design or use the original but interpret them using my skill as a designer and also inject my unique imagination. Thor’s Hammer design was again my own design in so much as I studied the original shape and used the myth of the Loch Ness monster in the design. Having carved many types of knot-work from a variety of historic sources I was able to design my own to fit the shape. I used Portland limestone as it has a dense texture making it ideal for this method of carving it is also a good weathering stone. The gold leaf was applied to the star, lamp and radiating areas of the Hermit carving.

I have also included drawing s for my next commission, an 8 pointed sun on a pedestal, the stone is Portland limestone.

This set of drawings also show an ongoing proposal for a War Memorial. I was approached 2yrs ago to develop a design for Mitcheldean and Abenhall Parish, unfortunately the communication went quiet and I thought nothing more of it. Just before Christmas I was approached again to see if I would like to re-visit this idea. While I don’t have this commission I am putting in quite a lot of effort to provide scale drawings, costings and sourcing the raw materials in order to provide a realistic price. If I was to be awarded this commission it would take me 6mths and be carved out of Portland limestone a stone synonymous with War Memorials around the country.

I developed the design around a piece of Mitcheldean Sandstone that I was saving for a worthy commission, which is the centre piece for this window design. It features a 1st and 2nd World War soldier carved in relief, a great deal of letter cutting and some architectural masonry which will compliment it’s surroundings. At the moment I am constructing a 1/4 scale drawing and I have a full scale drawing on my wall which enabled me to check detail and scale in order to price the raw material up.

Recently I took my annual holiday to Centerparcs in Longleat this is a great source of inspiration in the trees and the plants. The drawings here were made during our visit to the sub-tropical swimming paradise, lots of lovely architectural plants. The low light drawing may look like nothing more than a scribble but all drawing is important in order to keep my eyes trained to interpret what I see and then draw it .

These photos show some of the recent letter cutting commissions in their differing forms. Hillside Cottage is just painted on some slate that my customer bought in for me to carve. Nags Head Barn is carved and remained unpainted, my customers provided me with the piece of stone and wanted me to leave as much of the moss intact. As I was carving onto a weathered surface, the cut letters offered enough contrast and so didn’t need picking out with a colour.
‘In the Nik of time’ is a memorial carved in a piece of Forest of Dean sandstone, it is a corner of an old flagstone, I have sanded the surface and once I have finished painting the lettering I will sand the surface again. When I drew out the rough layout for my customer to approve I did so in a yellow pencil so when I asked what colour she would like the lettering painted she chose yellow as it looked nice.

A commission is an evolving process, one which starts with the right piece of stone, a font and layout that will compliment the idea and finally a finish, unpainted often looks nicest but if it is a house sign then it needs to be seen and so painting the lettering makes the design stand out and therefore makes it visible. The choice therefore is paint or Gold leaf the latter being the most durable but then it may not suit the characteristic of the property or indeed the customers personality. Generally I draw out the design directly onto the stone but sometimes I need to offer several alternatives so drawing out onto paper is the best options but sometimes the commission doesn’t come to fruition, a customer may change their mind.

The S with the butterfly is an example of working to a budget, the Cat’s name was Snarf and he loved to eat Cabbage White Butterflies however to carve the name would have exceeded the budget but by personalising the commission with the butterfly it actually had a greater impact and remained within budget.
Purdy is a commission for a Cat’s memorial. Hunter’s Lodge and The Retreat are for the same commission, this is one that I had done a prior drawing for as the stone type hadn’t yet been chosen. The memorials for the dogs were to replace ceramic ones, these were carved in Forest of Dean sandstone and the customer chose red paint which really suits the stone.
Charli is a memorial for a dog carved in Forest of Dean sandstone, they had a photos of the impression of Charli’s footprint so I was able to carve this into the memorial.

Finally the last set of photos show a recent commission for a 30th Wedding anniversary celebration, my customer had some ideas about what they wanted and I was able to incorporate my designs from a series I am working on inspired by an exhibition of Ice Age sculpture, this was carved in a fine piece of Tetbury limestone.
The letter cutting isn’t finished yet but it is for a Ruby Wedding Anniversary celebration, I will paint the date Ruby red , gild the interlocking Wedding rings and paint their names the colour of cream/yellow Freesias, the flowers they had on their wedding day. The slate is from Delabole in Cornwall, where my customers are from.

 

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Commission to hand carve a Poppy bowl

1 March, 2017 – 1:45 pm

This commission is in memory of a loved one. I made a drawing which was approved by my customers and so the carving was started.

I chose the stone because it has beautiful fossils these opened up to reveal stunning geodes of calcite crystals.

The only way to create a bowl with this section is to work through this process and therefore it takes about 35hrs to create.

Obviously the calcite crystals pose quite a problem as they are very hard and therefore must be carved with more care.

Once I had completed the shape I sanded the stone using files and rifflers and finished the inside of the bowl with a radiating tooling. 

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Commission to hand carve a Brown Bear eating a fish.

22 February, 2017 – 12:35 pm

I am excited to show you the final set of photos of my commission to carve a Brown Bear eating a fish using Tetbury limestone.

The initial plan was to have him in the garden with rocks and plants to make it look like he was in water but my customers love him too much and he will be living indoors.

This makes me very happy as he will never weather and stay the same, except for a shiny head where he will be patted every morning.

This carving took me 9wks and is carved out of a very fossily limestone from my favourite quarry nr Tetbury in South Gloucestershire. This stone lends itself very well to the ruggedness of a wild creature and I look forward to the next commission.

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Handcrafted Sterling silver and Welsh slate jewellery

30 January, 2017 – 8:04 pm

I have designed and hand crafted a new selection of pendants, rings and earrings using Welsh slate and sterling silver wire.

The two rings that I have made are created from a small piece of silver beaten to shape and soldered. I am still experimenting with these and how I can incorporate slate into the design.

The earrings are created using just one piece of silver that forms the shape, hooks can be made to any length and I have also been making some studs and clip-ons

The pendants are strung on a variety of leather and faux leather thongs, they have silver plated findings attached to the ends. These can be cut to any length that you require with a variety of magnets and clasps to attach or with a sliding knot.

All my jewellery is designed and made by me. Each piece is carefully constructed and therefore unique making your purchase one of a kind.

I am very happy to design something to your specification or if you have a pretty piece of stone I am happy to drill it for a pendant (if it’s not too hard)

 

 

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Half Term activities

26 January, 2017 – 7:09 pm

My workshop at Taurus Crafts nr Lydney in Gloucestershire is home to other craftsmen and women.

So if you fancy having a go at stonemasonry then pop in and see me on one of my days but if that isn’t your thing then try out one of the other fun activities.

Dates, prices, times and duration of activities are all different so check leaflet for details.

For my activities you can contact me but for the other ones please visit http://www.tauruscrafts.co.uk for details

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