Summer carvers

We’ve had a busy week, with seven students completing relief carvings. Richard came from Lostwithiel as a surprise birthday present along with Corrina and Dave who were visiting from Cambridge. Richard’s composition of a leaping hare and crescent moon is particularly lively, a really lovely piece to take home. Over the weekend, father and daughter team Tim and Liz joined us from their holiday accommodation nearby. Liz made an abstract art deco piece, following a similar design to one Corrina had used earlier in the week. Tim brought a photo of one of the floor tiles from St Bartholomew’s church in Lostwithiel, and transformed this into a very effective composition.

Finally on Sunday we had the company of Vicki and Stephen from Cheshire, who are on their honeymoon in Cornwall and Devon. Vicki has just qualified as a primary teacher and is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for art. She chose a snowdrop design and took to carving like a real natural. Having carved the outline of the design, Vicki had time to further enhance her piece by creating depth, especially on the leaves, which achieved a very satisfying result. There are images of Vicki’s work in our students’ gallery.

Richard’s hare relief

A trip to Shakespeare’s county, the stone merchant and home via Bristol

In July we packed up a hire van and headed up the M5 to Ragley Hall in Warwickshire and set up a temporary gallery at the CLA Game Fair, which hosts one of the biggest annual gatherings of animal and wildlife artists. Pete’s carvings were displayed on white plinths against a black backdrop, with the lion, crow, bittern and jack russell taking centre stage. Our neighbours in the Fine Art section of this huge show were figurative painters Michael Demain and Carl Bass, both of whom display their deep knowledge and understanding of birdlife and the countryside through brilliant and finely detailed paintings. We enjoyed sharing a barbeque and some cider with them, along with Carl’s wife Jo, at the end of long hot days.

After the show, we took a detour to Northamptonshire to visit Michael Owen at Nigel Owen stone workers and merchants. Michael holds the only stock in the country of English Alabaster, and also of Polyphant Stone, which comes from Cornwall. We’d been puzzled for a while as to why this well known Cornish stone was only available from the Midlands – but Michael told us the fascinating story behind how he came to own the Polyphant quarry – and how he now works it single-handed on his trips down to Cornwall. We brought home several treasures from Michael, including some Polyphant, a piece of white and red English Alabaster, a small piece of pure white Spanish Alabaster and a stunning fragment of ‘Frosterley Marble’. Pete has all sorts of ideas for pieces to make with the colours and textures of these stone – watch this space!

On the way back to Cornwall, we delivered Pete’s crow carving to its new home in Bristol. It was quite a wrench to leave the crow behind, but also great to see it in a beautiful new home where it will most definitely be appreciated and sit alongside lots of other pieces of art work.



Carol and Jesse have previously spent a week carving in Malta and invested in some carving tools so they could continue carving at home in Berkshire. They had made a striking pair of bookends in Malta and were keen to make another set as Christmas presents for their children. They were justifiably pleased with the progress they made in just a single day of carving in the workshop with Pete – the letter forms for the bookends are looking great, with just a bit of finishing work for Carol and Jesse to do at home. They tried out lots of tools and techniques during the day, including use of the compressed air hammer early on to get the basic shapes roughed out.

Carol & Jesse with their bookends June '13

Delamore Arts 2013

Delamore Arts runs throughout May at Delamore House at Cornwood in Devon (on the edge of Dartmoor not far from Plymouth). Outdoor sculpture is shown all around the garden surrounding the manor house, with more sculpture and paintings inside. Its a wonderful location and there’s a really diverse range of abstract and figurative work on show, many from South West artists, but also some from further afield. Pete is showing his lion sculpture and Aphrodite. We’ll post some photos of them in situ soon. We were hoping to get some shots of them at the opening event a couple of weeks ago but the weather was dull, and with the cold spring the garden wasn’t looking as colourful as it should have. The lion is right next to a rhododendron and hopefully if we can get back there on a sunny day soon it will be in full bloom and we’ll get a great photo. Oh, and there’s a very nice tea room too.

A carving and working holiday

Tom came along to one of Pete’s carving courses at the Mushroom Works in Newcastle last year. He’d recently finished a year’s foundation in Art at Newcastle College and having done a lot of 3-d work in ceramics was interested in spending some time exploring stone as a medium and developing his carving skills. He came and stayed with us in Cornwall for a week and combined his carving with a bit of practical help around the place to make the holiday more affordable for him. We rely on wood for our heating and like everyone else, we’ve used up a lot of fuel this winter and have our work cut out to replenish the stores so the extra help was very welcome!

Tom made a very successful 3-d ram’s head, which he managed to get on the train back to Berwick, and will continue working on the detail when he gets home. It was a great pleasure to meet a young person with a broad interest in art and one who moreover was an excellent house guest and got along famously with our two cats!




Spring carving days

Three carvers came along on 16th March. I’m sure Derek won’t mind me saying that he’s one of our older carvers to date, at 81. He took to carving with great determination and achieved an excellent jaguar relief, inspired by his love of vintage cars. Derek’s planning to return in May and make a mirror image jaguar so they can face each other across his mantel piece, and he already has plans for further garden sculptures.

Graham and James both took on lettering projects. James started his house name, but being quite a long one he’ll be coming back on to a Thursday evening session to complete it. Graham carved ‘Crete’, the place where he would spend all of his time if he could!

Kat and Mat came along to the studio on 6th and 7th April. Mat made a scarab beetle in 3-d, which is finished really nicely and has some great curving lines to it. Kat carved a relief of two fish, using a claw chisel to create the effect of swirling water around them.


Busy carving weekend 2nd & 3rd March

We’ve just had the penultimate weekend of our ‘special offer’ winter taster days, and it was a busy one. On Saturday Lottie & Colin came up from west Cornwall, John from Lostwithiel and Ian from Plymouth. Lottie is training to be a set designer and wanted to work on her 3-d design skills, she started on a very nice abstract piece and is planning to come back to complete it. John’s father was a craftsman who painted designs onto replica Chinese furniture – John chose a relief design of an oriental style fish that reminded him of his dad and did really well to complete it in a single day.

Ian was with us for the whole weekend and worked on lettering throughout. He really gained in confidence & speed over the two days, completing a single word inscription on Saturday and following up on Sunday with the four elements, earth, wind, fire & water carved on each side of a block – a great effort to get this completed.

Anne came for the day on Sunday and made a really lovely Gecko carving (see below). With friends Sylvia and Brenda also here on Sunday it was great to have a really busy and lively vibe in the workshop – lots of hard work and fun! See herefor more photos from the weekend.

Anne's gecko

Anne's very cute gecko


Sunny carving weekend

Andrea, Kate, Lynn and Alan all came for a day’s carving over the weekend, and we had unbroken sunshine, it’s starting to feel a bit like spring! Lynn and Kate came down from Tavistock, for the day on Sunday to celebrate Lynn’s birthday (Andrea was a birthday visitor too this weekend). The tudor rose pattern is proving to be popular and both Andrea and Kate made versions of it in relief carving. Lynn made a very elegant ivy pattern on a long narrow piece of limestone and she plans to continue working on it at home. Alan follows in the footsteps of his son Peter, who spent a day with us just after Christmas. He started on a quite large Celtic cross, and will be coming back for our regular Thursday evening sessions to complete it. Thanks to all our carvers this weekend for their hard work and excellent company!

Lynn and Kate

Festival of Stone in Bristol 31 May – 9 June 2013

Pete will be taking part in the Festival of Stone on the Quayside in Bristol from 4th-7th June. He will be one of the ‘competition carvers’ producing a piece of work over 4 days alongside other carvers from around the country and overseas. It promises to be a lot of fun and also very hard work! As well as working in public there is the pressure of creating something that will be judged by a panel including Peter Randall-Page and other world renowned sculptors. There is more info about the festival on their website.