Day 1 of another Stone Carving Workshop in my studio, and as ever I am amazed. I have given up trying to predict what the students will be like – and what they will achieve. At first glance my students today looked quite genteel and reserved. Being somewhat past the first flush of youth, I wondered whether they might struggle to shift the stone, and regretted that I didn’t have blocks of softer stone to hand. However, I needn’t have worried. As Yvonne (in her 60s) said; ‘We are mature and don’t have any time to waste!’. A great attitude, and very productive.These photos were taken early in the afternoon after a morning learning different tool techniques….. Although none of these students have carved before they are already chomping away competently. It’s very exciting to see.
This weekend I ran the second Stone Carving Workshop in my new studio. It was the first time that I had 3 students in this space, and though I was fairly sure that there would be plenty of room for us, I was still pleased to have this confirmed.
One of the students had already come on one of my carving courses, so I knew already that the weekend would be fun with her around. Five years ago Sue had carved an abstract sculpture, based on a woman’s bottom. The lines produced by a claw tool had been used to emphasis its voluptuous curves, so it looked like a potent fertility icon. I remember a group of teenagers walking past the sculpture almost tripping over themselves with shock and awe.
The other two students, a lawyer and an architect, hadn’t carved stone before. Chris decided to carve a book which symbolised part of his heritage, Jim wanted to carve an abstract sculpture, and Sue decided to tackle a more complex form this time – a curled up, sleeping baby.
The first morning of every workshop is spent with me demonstrating the tools and the students trying them out. Then, when suitable stones have been chosen, work begins on their individual projects. It’s very exciting to see the progression – from uncertainty and doubt, through moments of frustration, to increased confidence and assurance. Suddenly the rhythm of the hammering becomes harmonious and is a joy to hear.
Even though the workshop was shorter than usual due to snowfall and difficult travel conditions, everyone really got stuck in and made some lovely pieces. And because by the third day the students knew exactly what they were doing, I even did a bit of whittling myself… A really nice way to spend the weekend :>)