For many years I have created body forms in stone and other media. This is the latest, using Hebel. The piece has been cut with a saw rather than formed through the chisel. About 40cm excluding base.
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.]
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.
This is the third in a series of demonstrations about how to letter carve in a time of pandemic.
The letter Q is discussed in this video, so sit comfortably and listen out for my tips in this ‘guide to lettercarving’.
Here’s the video. You’ll notice I am carving upside down – this is not recommended for beginners!
In 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.
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.]
Check out this – and do not be deceived by the ‘simplicity’. Instead listen to the music made by the dummy striking the chisel.
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.
I was saddened to hear the news of FM’s passing, not that I met her face-to-face.
I bought a copy of the Gill biography when it was issued in paperback in 1990. [The hardback came out a year earlier and was reprinted three times.]
However, I can record a connection with FM, through correspondence in May 1990, which are included within the biography just pulled from my library shelves.
She was living at The Round Building, Sheffield and I had sent a letter to her publishers, Faber&Faber in London about some project I was then conceiving. [I do not have my letter sent.] I never took up her advice – though I may have written to Michael Richey, as she gave his address. I will report back.
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.