Stone carving – woohoo!

Well, I’m going to start this post with photos of what I made in a two day stone carving course, having never tried carving  of any sort before.

I’m SOOOOOO pleased with my sleeping baby fox! I can’t believe I managed to make him,  even though I had great guidance from Sebastian who led the course at Northleach.

So, for starters, Northleach is a very cool place between Gloucester and Oxford, and the centre is within the old prison, which is very cool!

We were able to work in a courtyard in the sunshine,

 but there was space indoors too if it rained. We started on practice blocks of bath stone in order to get a feel for the tools. I was still feeling a bit lost and very nervous about starting on my real block as I thought I would accidentally take too much off and ruin  it. But Sebastian said the stone is quite forgiving  and I agree. Yesterday evening my fox’s tail was attached to completely the wrong part of his body, and today it’s attached in a much more sensible place. I ended up chipping away all the ‘wrong’ area and reshaping it.

I made a rough model of what I wanted to achieve from clay,

and this really helped as I was working from a 3D shape, not a flat picture. I could pick it  up and look at angles and shapes  and then try to reproduce these in the stone. Remembering which areas of the clay model I’d had to add more clay to helped me to avoid taking away too much stone on my sculpture.

Sebastian started by telling me exactly which bits of my cuboid stone to cut away,

helping with the saw, showing me which angle to hold the tools and so on. Later he scraped  a picture of the rough shape of the head in place and told me to ‘suggest’ the different parts of the fox.

I still can’t believe this turned into my fox!

This went ok, and i worked round different bits of the fox. After a while I realised I was being a bit too delicate and could use bigger tools and hit  a bit harder. The fox gradually emerged from the stone, and that was really exciting to see.

Sebastian showing me how to use an adze
The fox beginning to emerge as i tried to take away ‘all that is not fox’

This is where I’d got to by the end of yesterday.

I was pleased with where I’d got to, though I knew I had to reshape the tail join and add shape to the head, and when I shut  my eyes last night I kept seeing different foxes and was  trying to think about the shape  of their faces!

Today i did all of that, and then smoothed him using rasps and different grades of sandpaper. 

When one of the visitors came over and ran her hand over my fox’s back I knew I’d achieved what I wanted – a curved sleeping fox  that you want to stroke! 

Everyone on the course was lovely and it was a lot of fun to hang out together, chatting and seeing what each person was doing, and encouraging each other. We all made really different things, but i think they’re all really cool. 

All of us with our work
Leaves with different textures, some carved in and some coming out

A house number carved in a harder stone

A birdbath

A very cool abstract, tactile face
A house number with a shining sun that cleverly goes round the corner
A green man

Pablo the Pelican
It was fab to meet everyone on the course and a real pleasure to meet Dan,  and you should definitely check out his new website where he’s started to show some of his photos. He’s really artistic, and it’s great that he’s going to start his GCSE art this year 

Thank you so much to everyone on the course for being so lovely and friendly. And thank you Sebastian for helping me to achieve something I would not have thought possible. 

19 thoughts on “Stone carving – woohoo!”

  1. oh wow! you all made some gorgeous sculptures there! So interesting to see the process of making your fox. With crafts, we’re more used to adding to create a design, rather than chipping away ^^

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  2. Like others have said – WOW! He is so lovely and when I saw the first picture I wanted to stroke him, too! Well done! And didn’t everyone make something very special. xx Mum

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments. He really IS very strokeable and his back is lovely and smooth, as is his face and nose, while his tail is more textured. You can have a stroke when you come to visit soon! It was so cool seeing how different people were inspired and how much i liked their work even though I’d never have thought of doing it myself.

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