Sourcing stone for a new commission

I’m looking for stone to use for a sculpture to go into a school’s Sensory Garden.  I wanted to add an extra dimension by using different stone types – limestone, slate and sandstone.  However, as yet I haven’t found a limestone that is the right colour and consistency and can be supplied in a block tall enough.

Nowadays purchasing anything is usually so easy; most things can be 'added to basket' with a quick click, and delivered in '2-3 working days'. By contrast finding the right stone is always time consuming and frustrating (and delivery can frequently take 2-3 months). 

Because it’s a natural material the consistency of the stone changes depending on where it is extracted from, even within the same quarry.  It might be harder or softer, or the colour might be quite different.  The varying heights of the bedrock affects the size of blocks that can be extracted. The sculpture that I am proposing is almost a meter high, and this, alas, rules out several stone types. 

Sometimes the stone is simply no longer available.  I know several lovely stone types which are no longer quarried.  Either the stone has been used up, or more frustratingly, quarry owners find it’s more profitable to build a megastore on the land than extract the stone.

Weather resistance also need to be taken into consideration.  Layers of a stone can sheer off  if water is absorbed and then frozen, splitting the stone along it’s natural bed layers, or along fault lines. Several stone types that might have been considered for such a sculpture are no longer recommended, due to the severe frosts that we have had in recent winters.

So, the right stone has not yet been found.  These early stages of the commission always take up so much more time than the client might believe – by contrast, carving the design when all the practical, and aesthetic considerations have been agreed upon, is plain sailing… I can’t wait.



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