Categories
alphabet lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework stone Typographic ephemera

Alphabet – when it’s needed

I have never carved an alphabet from A-Z. The pandemic and lockdown made me re-assess many things, including this omission. I have used this exercise to inform some short instructional videos for those starting out, and for those who have been following [also here] here’s the completed piece. It is far from ‘perfect’ but life is not about ‘perfection’ – it is about doing. [By the way, the slate was split from a single fragment, hence the mirror-like quality – look at base pattern.]

An alphabet in slate
60cm x c15cm – recycled slate from the UK

 

Categories
Elements of Lettering lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework stone Thoughts on lettering

In honour of a decade: number 6

Continuing these flashbacks on 10 years of this blog, I present a post from 2013 about Roman letter carvers. 

Here’s an example of my recent letter carving.

A to N on salvaged slate
These capitals are 40mm high and carved into reclaimed and cleaved slate.
Categories
Elements of Lettering

Guide to Letter carving: two

The letter Q is discussed in this video, so sit comfortably and listen out for my tips in this ‘guide to lettercarving’.

Letter Q

Here’s the video. You’ll notice I am carving upside down – this is not recommended for beginners!

Categories
lettering

Guide to Letter carving: one

Lettercarving in progressIn this time of lockdown and social distancing, I’m pleased to present my Guide to Letter carving. What better way to spend some time than learn the basics of this practice? You can carve outside or indoors: because I live in Australia the climate is mild and I have a garden, so I choose to carve plein air. Do what you want – there are no rules! First, though, you need the right equipment – this short video will explain the initial step on your adventure and, possible, absorption into carving.

Categories
alphabet lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework stone

Alphabet carving: the beginning

This is the start of an exercise in carving an alphabet in salvaged slate. You’ll notice that I’m carving the letters [c40mm] upside down – this is because the straight edge of the slate happens to be at the top of the letters as I sketched them. [There are two panels to the complete alphabet.] This makes it easier to hold the slate [which is fairly thin – about 10mm] firm on the ‘easel’ or banker, which I also made. If you would like details of how to make your own banker please let me know. Subscribe for further instalments. [Note also the ‘printer’s hat’ I’m wearing – this is an optional extra! Details on demand.]

Banker with slate
Homemade banker with slate and tools.
Categories
lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework sculpture

Sounds of stonecarving

Listen to the sounds of chisel against sandstone as I work the stone to the shape I require.

https://stoneletters.files.wordpress.com/2020/04/sounding-carving.mp3

This is the piece I am working on

Work in progress
Sandstone sculpture unfinished

And completed:

Sculpture in limestone

Or try this video too

Categories
lettering Thoughts on lettering

Carving a letter R in stone

Check out this – and do not be deceived by the ‘simplicity’. Instead listen to the music made by the dummy striking the chisel.

Letter R_Tom Perkins
Letter R carved in slate by Tom Perkins, August 1992

This fine example of an R is in my possession, has been since it was carved by Tom Perkins in August 1992, when I attended my first letter carving workshop at a place called West Dean in Sussex.

Categories
eric gill

Gill & Gill: a film

People still remain fascinated by Gill. WordPress stats reveal the posts I have written about him are the most frequently visited. As many of you know I abhor the man Eric Gill after years spent in shameful admiration of his letter carving. Were EG alive today he would face prosecution for, among other offences, child sexual abuse and incest.

That aside, recently I had an email from Louis-Jack Horton-Stephens who is making a film about two Gills – one typographers have heard, the other a guy by the name of Jack who climbed the stones his namesake carved.

Louis-Jack writes: ‘The film is a visual essay entitled ‘Gill & Gill‘ that explores humanity’s relationship with stone by juxtaposing two masters of their craft: one of rock climbing, the other of letter cutting. The film looks at the way these two very different practices, united by a common material, share basic principles such as: creativity, problem solving, dedication, muscle memory and balance. Through this unusual comparison I believe that we can come to better understand the artistry in both crafts, and in so doing reflect on humanity’s relationship with the material world.’

Louis-Jack is seeking funds to make and complete his film. If you are interested in knowing more please follow this link

 

Categories
calligraphy lettering typography

A long overdue note on Michael Harvey

Prompted by the chance spot of a news item announcing the publication of his latest book – Adventures with Letters. For those who do not know Michael’s work please check this link. MH has been working in lettering/calligraphy for more than 60 years, being taught the art of letter cutting by Joseph Cribb, one of Gill’s assistants. He is a renowned and distinguished typographer as well. His earlier books, including Carving Letters in Stone and Wood (Bodley Head, 1987) and Creative Lettering Drawing and Design (Bodley Head, 1985), were among those volumes that influenced me when I was starting out. I’d recommend them to anyone wanting to know more about either discipline.

The link to his new book can be found here.