The Stone Carving Workshop


Carving at the Mushroom Works 26th & 27th Jan ’13

Thanks once again to Nick James at the Mushroom Works in Newcastle for organising a successful weekend of carving courses. The weather was a bit snowy up there in the North East, but everyone made it to the venue and there was some really excellent work. Linda (whose husband is a physicist) made Einstein’s field equation – the  first time we have seen a scientific formula in stone at one of our courses! I think you’ll agree it’s very original and also very impressive work for someone new to carving to achieve this in a day.Linda followed this up with a horse relief on the second day. Ian also did a lettering piece on the Saturday, he did eight letters – ‘SLOW FAST‘ and executed them with precision and style.

Ian's lettering

Linda's Einstein lettering

January carving students

Hugo spent two days carving with us back in the Autumn and popped back last weekend to finish off his project. He’s made a really skillful Celtic cross that will be gracing his garden in Lostwithiel. Pete roughed out the base of the cross, the rest of the work is all Hugo’s. The knot work has really good precision and crisp lines and a pecked background texture that looks very effective. Hugo had not tried carving before and his piece demonstrates what can be achieved with a bit of hard work and determination!

Peter also joined us for a day last weekend – for a taster day given as a Christmas present. He decided to make a house number for his parents and give it back to them as a present. Peter achieved a very professional looking lettering piece, spelling out ‘NINE’ in letters based on the classic Trajan alphabet. We hope to see Peter back before too long, and his dad might be paying us a visit too!


An important arrival

Pete went up to Portland in Dorset last week to collect a piece of stone that will become the lion carving. There’s a photo of the clay model for the lion on our facebook page. It will be quite a large piece, and is going to be on show at the Delamore Arts outdoor sculpture show in May. It was also a good opportunity to pick up numerous small pieces of Portland stone for students to work on. Many of Pete’s carvings are made from ‘found’ pieces of stone but this one requires bespoke material because of its size. A couple of years ago he made a dragon’s head out of a similar sized piece of Portland. We reckon the stone weighed about 400kg – shifting this from the van to the workshop area was a delicate operation!

Christmas carving days

Tracy and Roger visited us from Surrey just after Christmas for a festive carving break – for Roger’s surprise Christmas present. Both Tracy and Roger got stuck in for a good day and a half of carving and made a seated figure and a shell & starfish relief. It is always rewarding to see how much new carvers can achieve in a short space of time.

Pete with Roger in the workshop

Work in progress

Pete has recently completed a carving of a crow in Cornish Schorl, which is black tourmaline sometimes found alongside granite in the county. He has also made a clay model for a large carving of a lion’s head which will be carved in Portland stone for the outdoor exhibition at Delamore Arts in Devon this May. The lion is pictured in the photos of Lostwithiel Dickensian evening in the post below. For images of work in progress, you can follow us on facebook or twitter (links at the bottom of the page). Images of completed work go up on Pete’s personal website.

Lostwithiel Dickensian Evening

We had a brilliant time at Lostwithiel Dickensian Evening on 13th December. The whole town was buzzing with the shops open late, mulled wine being dispensed liberally and all the shop owners dressed up in Victorian constume, there were some very convincing Dickensian characters on show! Fore Street was full of people with food stalls and carol singers keeping everyone entertained. We had a stand in the Church Rooms with several other local art/craft and food businesses and the venue was packed for the whole evening. We met loads of people and had a really great response to the carvings, especially the lion maquette which was a big hit with all the children and the crow carving. Lots of interest in taster days too and we are looking forward to quite a few people coming to visit us in the New Year. Big thanks to the organisers and we look forward to doing it again next Christmas.

Weekend carving course 20 & 21st October 2012

We had a great weekend in the workshop with Lorraine, Rena and Fran each producing some very effective carving. A bit of autumnal sunshine helped and the woods are starting to look spectacular with the autumn colours coming through. Rena and Fran are experienced wood carvers and found their skills transferred well to working in stone. Rena is an ex-soldier and she made a wreath design encircling a canine paw print, which reflects her membership of the Army Dog Corps. The work on the paw print is crisp and precise and it was great to see a project with strong personal meaning come to life. Fran made a carving of ivy and ferns creeping over a boulder. The design worked really well and there is scope for Fran to add to it at home, she’s hoping to invest in some stone chisels once Christmas is out of the way! Lorraine has attended a stone carving workshop once before and has some tools – she made excellent progress on her tudor rose design and we are hoping to get a photo of the finished article before too long. Thanks to this weeks students for their hard work and good company. There are more photos from the weekend here.

Rena's paw print

Hands on Heritage event at Beamish Museum

On 22nd and 23rd September I went up to the Beamish Museum near Durham to take part  in their Hands on Heritage event. I spent some time before the Beamish weekend making a celtic cross for people to make carvings on. I traced celtic designs onto the basic cross, allowing people to have a go at carving in shallow relief following my design. This worked really well and was a good way for anyone to try their hand at carving and contribute to the overall piece. People were free to drop in for as long or short a time as they wanted, and the cross turned out to be a flexible way to offer carving at this sort of event. Loads of people stopped for a chat over the weekend and around 20 spent some time with hammer and chisel. Also on offer were dry stone walling, ploughing (with horses) and pottery. Thanks to the Beamish team for a really good weekend.  At Beamish Museum, Pete in his period costume! Celtic cross with designs carved by visitors to the Beamish Museum


Not every small Cornish village has its own unique type of granite named after it. Luxulyan is the other village in our parish of Lanlivery and is the only place in the world where you can find Luxullianite. Apart from having a fantastic name, Luxullianite is a beautiful variant of granite, in which the feldspar (which normally appears white) has turned a reddish pink colour due to the oxidation of the iron content in the stone. Luxullianite is rare and quite difficult to get hold of, even if you live near the only source of it. Pete has managed to obtain a piece and is making a fish carving from it, balanced on a plinth of grey granite, which offsets the colours really well. The piece will come up to a lovely high polish, watch this space for photos when it’s finished. In the meantime, I found a post about Luxullianite with a good photo here on the Open University.


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