Christmas with Cat’s Eye Carving.

12 November, 2019 – 1:39 pm

If you are looking for something creative and unique this Christmas then look no further.

I design and carve a variety of individually hand crafted pieces available for you to buy from me at Taurus Crafts,
(a lovely craft centre on the A48 nr Chepstow). I have a superb studio where I work year round on commissions and my unique items.

I use Sandstone from several different quarries in the Forest of Dean & Cumbria, Welsh and Cornish slate, Limestone from Tetbury in South Gloucestershire, Portland in Dorset and Lavoux in France, to bring you some lovely coloured stone. I also hand carve wood.
When I draw out my designs, I choose the right stone or wood to enhance the design, I hand carve words, letters, bookends, faces, tealight holders. I use my imagination and the inspiration that I get from drawing from life, studying historic carvings and whatever I can think of…my mind never stops working on new designs and how to get the most out of the materials that I use.

I also design and make beautiful Welsh slate, seed pearl and sterling silver jewellery.

All these things are available for sale from my shop at the moment, there is plenty of choice as I have been working hard to fill my shelves especially for your delight.

As well as my own creations I also sell stunning metal pieces lovingly crafted by Missfire. Clare will be minding my shop for me from 12 – 5 on the 30th Nov.


Different faces.

30 October, 2019 – 10:30 am

During my Degree which I graduated from 20yrs ago I studied portraiture in both 2D and 3D. We would sculpt in clay taking precise measurements from people sitting for us. As I became more competent, it would take me roughly 24hrs over a period of several weeks to create a good likeness. This would then be cast in plaster.

I can now use silicone moulds and a material called Jesmonite to create my casts but most of the figures and faces I create now come from my imagination and are carved into stone. However my imagination is backed up with years of practise and plenty of drawing.

I mentioned in my previous post the many sketchbooks that I have and I use these as my reference source. When I have a specific commission my sketchbook pages will be dedicated to the workings for this.

These 3 carvings are all quite different and show how I can carve the stone to give different feelings.

A small chip with a particular chisel gives the impression of thought, sleepiness or in the case of Poseidon, strength. Carving on a small scale as 2 of these are is very difficult as there is only a finite amount of stone to use, the Green man carving is a little easier because he is completely made up but even so giving him a smily face, you can almost see his rosy cheeks is a challenge in itself as there is no paint, just stone.

I am happy to take on commissions for any type of portrait or you can choose from one of the faces I have on my shelf.


Designing and carving a ceiling boss.

26 October, 2019 – 10:30 am

I like to have a break from carving every so often, it helps with focus when I have a particularly demanding project or when my shoulders need a rest, this doesn’t mean I sit around, I like to draw up designs ready for new projects. My ideas come from sketches that I have made of plants and foliage, figures, faces and buildings that I see when I am out and about.

I always have a small sketchbook with me and I always have more than one on the go at any time. Which one I have with me depends on what size I can carry and whether it is a specific drawing day such as visiting a gallery, museum or historic building. 

Obviously a Ceiling Boss is an existing architectural feature seen at the apex of a vaulted ceiling whether in the Angels or cloisters of a magnificent Cathedral or in the porch of a stately home and  they are often ornately carved. Norwich Cathedral have some beautiful examples in their cloisters. I took these wen I visited Norwich back in January.

Here is one of my full scale drawings for a ceiling boss that I drew last Summer. I ordered 2 pieces of French limestone using the dimensions of the drawings and have made the template, 10 x 10 x 5 inches. I wasn’t as happy with the other design which featured a Green Man but I will draw it again at a later date.

The next stage is to mark up the stone using the templates and start removing the stone in a logical manner to make the process as efficient and straightforward as possible. This also helps me arrive at the most interesting part quickly.

The first thing I will do on this carving is saw away the excess. I’ll write more as I get the project underway. For now though I have some house signs to get on with. 


Mitcheldean War Memorial.

22 October, 2019 – 12:30 pm

Looks like the fundraising is off to a great start; 

The Worshipful Company of Masons have very generously donated £500 to the fund. If you would like to find out more information about this historic livery company please click on this link . I am proud to be a Yeoman Mason a title that was awarded to me in recognition of my own charitable fundraising efforts, and helping to promote the craft of stonemasonry through my stonemason festivals.

The raffle prize that I carved was won on Saturday night at the Mitcheldean Parish Council’s fundraising evening and they raised £379.

I hope to have the photos of the real soldiers from the Parish of Mitcheldean and Abenhall soon so that I can make some preparatory sketches for the 2 half life-size carvings. They are an integral part of the War memorial. The idea of where they are standing and how they are looking is that they are standing watch over the names of the fallen. 

A quick side note, if you watched the Countryfile episode on Sunday 19th, the quarry that was featured is where the block of stone has come from.


A few simple carvings

21 October, 2019 – 12:49 pm

I am working my way through a series of commissions but these are peppered with new stone carvings that are available for sale from my studio.

Here are a few photos of some of the smaller items that I have carved. I carry a sketchbook with me at all times and draw what I see wherever I am, these sketches feed my imagination and the drawings provide me with the ideas for the wide variety of carvings that I create. 

I have used Forest of Dean sandstone, Tetbury limestone from Gloucestershire and French limestone.

If you would like to discuss a commission please get in touch.