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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.
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Thoughts on lettering

Guide to Letter carving: three

Slate letters cut and in shadow
Slate alphabet caught in deep shadow

This is the third in a series of demonstrations about how to letter carve in a time of pandemic.

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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!

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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.

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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.
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Elements of Lettering Thoughts on lettering

Recent letter carving in slate

It has been a while since I picked up a chisel and took the tungsten tip to a piece of stone. So I was delighted to be commissioned by a friend to carve two words into a rectangular block of Mintaro slate from near Adelaide, Australia, approximately 300mm by 75mm. [The text Cantabo Vivere can be liberally translated as Sing to live.]

The photos here illustrate the methods used in setting out the letters, initial cutting and the final piece.

cantabo_rough
This illustrates how the text is transferred to the stone, using carbon paper. Note the outline is a guide only.
cantabo_c
The first cut of the A, with the C almost complete.
cantabo_r
The R is being formed. Note how the shape is being tweaked in the process of cutting.
cantabo_hand
Holding the chisel. Dirty work.
cantabo vivere complete
Complete after being rubbed with at least 400 grit under running water.

 

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Brand design Humour lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework stone Thoughts on lettering

Corsets and Mourning

What’s the link? Well, on the side of this magnificent building in central Sydney, Australia [built 1908] are adverts for both items: corsets and mourning [costume I presume]. A wonderful incidence of unintended humour. Or was it intended? We may never know. I invite comment on the lettering style, as well as matching stories.

Corsets and Mourning
On the side of the former Mark Foy’s Emporium, Sydney, Australia.
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lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework

More slate – more beautiful

It’s been a while since I carved but once learnt… This was a scrap piece of roofing slate I had lying around the studio (it is 32cm by 45cm), hence the holes. The first image shows work in progress – the second complete. The text comes from a Navajo chant and continues for some verses.

 

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lettering lettering, typography, alphabets, stonework Thoughts on lettering

Slate arsed

A curiosity. But clearly not carved by the ‘artist’. Thanks to a comment from a reader of this blog please follow this link to an earlier post on Ian Hamilton Finlay, who really knew how to exploit the medium – and in a far more intelligent manner.
http://creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2012/november/arse-and-other-new-works-by-seb-lester