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.