About Stone Carving
There are numerous
types of stone in the UK. Relatively few are suitable for carving as
opposed to stone which is used for other purposes such as in
buildings or public amenity areas. Viv generally carves larger work
using limestone from the Portland quarries or from the Ancaster
quarry in Lincolnshire as well as from Hoptonwood in Derbyshire.
Occasionally he carves in Red Sandstone from the Hollington quarry,
Polyphant from Cornwall or Alabaster. Much softer than limestone,
Alabaster is carved with wood carving tools and has an unusual
Two tonne block of
Ancaster before carving Leaves of the Forest.
He obtains his
stone either direct from the quarry as specific sized blocks or as
off-cuts which might otherwise go to landfill.
sculpture group, the Shapeshifters Sculpture Company, has also
sourced good quality limestone from buildings about to be
refurbished e.g. the Leicester City Police Station where some of the
stone was not required in the new building and was surplus and can
source of stone is to buy from a stone dealer and Viv uses Nigel
of Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire.
One of the clay maquettes for
Leaves of the Forest.
The process for
carving appears straightforward using a maquette made in plasticene
or clay or a found object such as a seed or leaf. Alternatively, or
perhaps in addition, a template is made of the object and used to
guide the carving.
stone is selected to meet the requirements of the carving in both
texture and delicacy of form. Sometimes Viv does not use a maquette
and carves direct trying to follow the flow of the stone in finding
Paper template for a carving of a
small Portland limestone block.
Alabaster disc held by non-slip
rubber on a sandbag.
Small pieces bring their own problems including finding ways to keep
the stone steady whilst carving.
Roughing-out a red sandstone block.
Blocking out is the first task to reduce the stone broadly to the
After that the form is refined further and the detail starts to
Further work on the red sandstone
Polyphant stone before polishing.
Finally, there are decisions to be made on the texturing of the
surface and selecting areas to be polished which the viewer will
then want to touch.
Wet and dry produces smooth surfaces followed by an application of
beeswax or oxalic acid.
Copyright © 2009 Viv Astling. All rights