The Freeminers

3 August, 2012 – 10:00 pm

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!


  1. 6 Responses to “The Freeminers”

  2. Great work! And what an interesting commission to be involved with. There is a great history here of ironstone mining and working which is fascinating.

    By Jennifer on Mar 25, 2012

  3. Thanks Jennifer, I’m lookinmg forward to carving the next one.

    By Carrie Horwood on Mar 26, 2012

  4. Will they be on public display somewhere? It would be a shame if they are not.

    By Bill Francis on Aug 3, 2012

  5. Hi Bill,they were a private commission, so I am not sure what my customer is going to do with them. It would be very exciting to see them on display somewhere though!

    By Carrie Horwood on Aug 12, 2012

  6. Hi Carrie,
    Absolutely some of your finest work. A great pleasure to savour the feeling of workers set in slate for posterity. You should be very proud of your achievement. We look forward to seeing your next works!

    By pauline/nigel on Aug 14, 2012

  7. Hi Pauline and Nigel, thank-you for your kind words, it means alot to me. Carrie.

    By Carrie Horwood on Aug 17, 2012

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