This is the third in a series of demonstrations about how to letter carve in a time of pandemic.
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.]
Earlier this year I posted about a slate engraving hung from trees (see here). I rediscovered the piece recently and laid it out on the front lawn, where one of our cats immediately took a liking to it. The slate squares are 60cm, the material from China. The text is not inscribed but was painted on – using gold size and placing copper leaf on top. Effective. The text is from Hamilton Finlay: There are people who go look at gardens and fountains while empires are being overthrown.
- Slate Sculptures by Stephen Kettle (amusingplanet.com)
After paper bags a return to stone. A reason why I work in stone – it is immortal, which implies it has a soul.
This piece I made from a fragment of slate left over after removing a circle for a house number. The slate was riven (that is not smooth – retaining its natural surface) and was 280mm in diameter. The text is from Dante, the opening to The Inferno: Midway along the journey of our life, a text which has even more resonance now than it did when I made the piece, since I have hit, indeed passed, 50.
The slate was set into a piece of wood. After some years the wood deteriorated and I re-set the stone into limestone.
When I moved to Australia I gave it away. I don’t know where it is now but I still like this piece for its simplicity, not least the text.
I made one or other two pieces using the Dante theme. Time to return there I think.