‘Have a Go’ Stone Carving for all ages
One of the best family activities in Purbeck. Have a go at a relief carving on a 15 x 15cm (6 x 6 inch) cut slab of stone in our friendly workshops. Bring your own simple design or your tutors can help with ideas, reference material and basic templates. Perfect for anyone with an interest in art, design, heritage crafts, mindfulness or learning traditional skills.
Suitable for all. A great family experience and you get to take away your own piece of art.
Please note that this course does not cover letter cutting.
What will I achieve?
You will learn the basic techniques of carving a simple relief onto stone and removing the unwanted background material. You will learn how to use the basic tools utilised in stone carving, providing a basic understanding of this heritage skill. In two hours you will create a relief carving of a shape such as a leaf, fish, shell or similar on a Portland stone tablet. (We use Portland stone for our shorter courses as it is softer than Purbeck stone.)
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is suitable for anyone, including those who have never even considered having a go at stone carving! It’s ideal for complete beginners. You do not need any particular skills, but carving requires the ability to hold tools in both hands- a chisel in one, and a dummy (stonemason’s hammer) in the other. Stonecarving is easiest done standing up but a stool can be provided for anyone who would find this tiring.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is a tutor-led, practical, hands-on class, with a supportive atmosphere. It’s also great fun with a rewarding conclusion as you get to take your own relief carving away with you. All work is completed in our purpose-built on-site workshops.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to prepare in advance or bring?
Stone, tools, and safety equipment will be provided. Please wear old clothes and stout shoes which cover your toes and protect your feet. You don’t need to prepare anything in advance. The course fee includes complimentary teas and coffees .
See what our participants say:
“Just a brief note to say thank you to all at Burngate for a fulfilling afternoon last Thursday at the Have a Go course. The tutor was attentive, patient and approachable and found in me an artistic flair that has lain dormant for 70+ years. Definitely something I would recommend to family and friends and I hope to come back for another session in the not too distant future.” (Ann)
|Maximum 10 people
|Two hours (AM or PM)
|Adults and children aged 8+ must be accompanied by participating adult/s.
CARVING | SCULPTURE
Amanda makes abstract stone sculptures inspired by plants and fungi. She loves carving in the company of others and celebrates nature, community and care for the environment through her work. She is a qualified teacher, has taught on an Art Foundation course, and has years of experience teaching children and adults from beginners to university level. Amanda has an honours degree in Fine Art – Sculpture and a Masters in Art and Architecture and is a passionate advocate of the benefits of art and making for wellbeing.
Amanda recently received Arts Council funding to support her development of teaching on-site/mobile stone carving. She has completed numerous public art commissions including large carvings for the Forestry Commission, carved stone musical instruments for a city square in Southampton and sculptures celebrating the local distinctiveness of villages in Kent. She has recently completed a sculpture and drawing project celebrating biodiversity in ancient woodlands.
Nico Johnson was a senior newspaper editor when she attended a stone carving festival a decade ago and discovered she had a natural talent for carving. She was taken under the wing of several well known stone masons, who helped her develop and hone her skill until she was recognised in her own right as a proficient relief stone carver.
Nico has a love of rediscovering and reviving ancient art, including designs depicted in murals, friezes, pottery and repeating patterns from around the world. Many of her own carvings depict faithful recreations in stone of almost-lost original designs, symbols and signs.
Having visited Egypt many times, exploring archeological ruins and researching traditional methods of decorative art, Nico spent time in the Qasr al-Aguz region on Luxor’s west bank, gaining an understanding of methods of alabaster extraction and block coring in the carving factories which continue to follow ancient Egyptian masonry techniques. Nico later trained as a relief carving tutor, before joining us here at Burngate.
Having now retired from her position as an editor, Nico brings her infectious passion for teaching carving to Burngate, offering enjoyable, supportive and fun classes. When she is not teaching at Burngate, she works to commission, based at her remote ‘carving shack’ out in the forests of north Purbeck.
Nico teaches regularly at Burngate, and this year will be teaching some of our Have a Go Stonecarving and Introduction to Stonecarving courses.
Carving | Sculpture
Jonathan Sells is a professional stone carver and mason who studied architectural carving and stone masonry at Weymouth College, Dorset, where he trained with Portland stone masons.
As a sculptor and artist he is self-taught. His over thirty-five years experience has enabled him to work successfully with architects, public bodies and individual members of the public to create unique and inspiring pieces of artwork.
Jonathan has extensive experience of teaching stone carving to members of the public across a wide range of sectors and age groups, including schools, hospitals and businesses.
As an international sculptor, he works from his studio based in Purbeck, Dorset, where he happily undertakes selected hand carved stonework commissions including fireplaces, garden furniture, water features, birdbaths, functional artefacts for inside and out, wedding and birth gifts, letter cutting and restoration work.
Alan lives on the Isle of Purbeck and has lived in Dorset. He worked with stone straight from school, attending Weymouth College to study the art of stone masonry and letter cutting. He has worked in numerous quarries and had the privilege of working alongside many experienced local stone masons through his early years.
Alan has a deep love of nature and enjoys spending much of his free time exploring the wonderful Dorset countryside, observing the unique local geology. He is also a keen bird watcher and this is evident in his carvings and sculptures.
CARVING | SCULPTRE
Sarah Moore is a painter and sculptor working mainly with Purbeck stone, but also other stones as well as marble and alabaster. She attended Weymouth College masonry and architectural carving and letter-cutting course after completing a ceramics degree.
Her work is mainly based on the human form and her early career as a radiographer gives her an understanding of the structure of the human body which has continued to inform her work through her drawings of dancers and musicians some of which will be translated into carvings in stone, either representational or abstract.
Sarah is a qualified teacher and has taught ceramics, stone carving and wood carving in further and higher education as well as teaching on painting and stone carving holidays in the wonderfully inspiring landscape of southern Italy.
She has work in public and private collections.
She likes to encourage children and young people to carve stone, it helps them to concentrate and gives them a great sense of achievement. Sarah is studying an MA course in fine art.