Starting Work on the WWII Side

18 June, 2021 – 6:00 pm

Drawing on the stone in the rain can have it’s difficulties but thankfully I set my tarpaulin cover up before the rain started.

I was able to use these dimensions from my original third scale design to draw the lettering onto the stone. I made a few adjustments until I was happy with the layout. Obviously I also had to make sure that there would be plenty of room for the WWII soldier.

The lettering is the same size and spacing as the WWI side and as the WWII surface is flat it was more straightforward to draw out. I still had to contend with the rain and wind so I couldn’t stretch my tarp out so I only uncovered the letters one line at a time and worked between showers.

Thankfully the rain didn’t stick around for much longer and by the time I got to the higher lettering the sun was out.

I have made a clay model of Harold Edwards from a photograph that his son sent me, this helps me to get a better understanding of his face but it is quite tricky to get an exact likeness from just one photo so it is more about capturing a likeness than a portrait.

Harold was blown out of his tank in May 1944 at Monte Cassino, he was the only survivor from his tank and was medically discharged. He walked with sticks for the rest of his life but went on to serve the parish of Mitcheldean and Abenhall as the parish clerk.

The photo of the soldier was also sent by Harold’s son and although it isn’t Harold, it is what he would have worn.

By dividing the image of the tank soldier into a grid of sorts, I was able to scale up the drawing onto the stone.


War Memorial progress update

28 April, 2021 – 12:19 pm

Since re-opening on the 14th April I have spent almost everyday working on the carving of George Hyett. An Abenhall man, George is the face of my 1st world war soldier.

Carving Forest of Dean sandstone takes alot of patience and skill as well as sharp tungsten carbide tipped chisels.

I favour hand crafted chisels from JP Masonry and Steven Travis I use 2 different weight wooden mallets, a lump hammer and a selection of dummy hammers with my smaller fine carving chisels.

Due to the ‘plucky’ characteristic of this stone I can’t take too much away at a time as it has the tendancy to pluck more away than I want but it is also very hard so it is quite difficult to work off large quantities at a time unlike the limestone that I use.

The stone came from Barnhill quarry near Coleford in the heart of the Forest of Dean.
It has beautiful Green, Lilac, Red and Amber ochre colours running through it as well as indentations of the fossilised tree bark from it’s origins. I chose the stone for it’s natural primitive surface which in my mind represents the 1st world war. The side that I will be carving the 2nd world war names, dedication and soldier is sawn but not dressed, this to me is representative of the 2nd world war.

These photos were taken yesterday, it’s darker because I have just rinsed the dust off after my days work.

George Hyett, a work in progress.
Close up of webbing and ammo pouches.
Close up of the face and upper body. You can see how I am chopping around the outline of the figure.

I estimate that I have around 100 hours of carving left, I will also be carving some more poppies towards the top of the stone.

When this is finished it will be installed in the garden next to the Church in Mitcheldean. Unveiling date to be confirmed but it should be in September.


Sphere carving

4 April, 2021 – 11:35 am

My sphere sculpture featuring two faces connected by curly hair is finished.

This sculpture is available to buy from my studio for £1875.


Sphere Sculpture

13 March, 2021 – 2:16 pm

Here are the next set of photos from my new sculpture, as you can see I have joined both faces with the curly hair that I am carving.

I am back carving in my shed now as the photos at the top of this post show but I love carving outside in the fresh air, the lighting helps me see how the shadows fall and in turn shows what I need to do to enhance a feature.


New sculptures.

10 March, 2021 – 11:13 am

I am so excited to be starting my new sculptures. I have a commission to carve in HamHill stone next month so my first carving was in a sample sent to me by Hadspen Quarry I had tried some simple letter carving in it first but it was such a lovely colour and natural shape that I knew I could carve a face in it. This would give me an insight into it’s carving qualities for my commission.

Hand carved Ham Hill stone

This selection of photos shows the development over two days from the sphere to the two faces. I have only just started chiselling the outlines of the hair and the faces are not finished yet. I am looking forward to progressing with this carving and exhibiting in the FarOpen exhibition this Summer.

I was able to work outside for a few days even though it was cold it was lovely to work in the sunshine. I am back in my shed now but it’s cosy in there.

I have uploaded a few videos onto my YouTube channel if you would like to see how I am carving my sculpture. There are some other videos showing me working on different carvings including my work on the War memorial before Christmas. I am looking forward to getting back on with that when I return to my studio.