I have been working on a plaque for Wymondham Abbey, this will be like a foundation stone, albeit applied after the building is finished, in about 18 months time. The stone is Westmorland slate, from Honister mine. I’ve taken a few pictures to show the stages of painting and gilding it. I’m putting the gold leaf on tomorrow morning and will show final pictures tomorrow. So the paint is flooded into the lettering and then sanded back afterwards. This is the quickest and most successful way of ensuring full coverage. See below. The sanding with wet and dry paper is really exciting, seeing the lettering emerge. The last picture shows the gold size, and the leaf will be applied in the morning. Thanks for looking.
I’ve just completed a commission for three sculptures for a local garden. They are slate, and will be placed in the garden so as to break up the space visually. I hope you like them 😊
We had a little trial lift of the stone I made for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital today. The stone is being transported on Monday morning (4am !) early in order to avoid busier times on site. I took a few snaps today on my phone. It turns out the stone that I thought was around 2.4 tonnes was in fact 3.4 tonnes. I am very excited about seeing it finally in place, and not outside my workshop where it seemed to be taking root. See the following pictures. I think on Monday I’ll take more….. maybe a video would be fun! The crane was really impressive!!
I recently met a local chap who told me he had a boulder he wanted me to carve. I’ve been working on it today. “Where did he get it from?” Oh, I’m glad you asked me that. Well, he told me that an 18 year old farm worker Brian Sarsby was ploughing a field near Banningham, when there was a bang and his tractor came to a sudden stop. He’d bent a plough-share on a substantial lump of rock in the ground. I know that farm worker and he’s 81 now. The stone was removed from the field and ended up outside a house in Colby. It looks to me like granite, and I’d suggest it is a glacial boulder. There are pictures at the bottom of this post.
Norfolk has no natural stone for carving. We have flint such as was quarried in Grimes Graves (below) and other places. CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Then there is Carrstone, a rough sandstone or iron stone (also known as Silsoe or gingerbread!) quarried near Snettisham and used a lot for walling in that area, with brick quoins. It comes in two variants; a rusty red and a ‘silver’ variety. There’s some chalk too. So nothing for me to get excited about. I have cut a letter in flint and it is possible but not much fun. Here’s a picture of the strata in Hunstanton:
Generally speaking the further West you go in the UK the older the stone is. Guess I’m in the wrong county then…..BUT now I have a source of stone I can carve…..Norfolk Granite! I’m not a big fan of granite but it is ok. My previous blog featured a massive 7 tonne boulder which I carved with my assistant Dan. This one (below) is a lot smaller! I am being quite free with the lettering on this, sketching it out roughly and forming the letters as I go, the client just said go for it, ‘just do it’. This means letter shapes and spacing need to be refined as it progresses, and the weight and depth of the letters are done in an intuitive way – what looks right to me. There are one or two flaws in the stone so I had to set it out with this in mind. It has a kind of soft crust and then it gets HARD as you cut deeper. I will wash it down after carving, and then assess if it needs some paint in the letters. Often when the dust is washed out of the lettering there is not enough contrast or shadow, despite carving VERY DEEP. Also it does need to function as a sign, and needs to be noticed. It’s about 70cm wide I guess. CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE, bye for now!!