To enquire about stone carvings for the house or garden:
email : firstname.lastname@example.org
telephone: 07780 432380 / 01305 860806
workshop: Sweethill Road, Portland, Dorset, DT5 2DS, England
These carvings are created using traditional masonry and carving tools. They are created by hand with a mallet and chisel.
Most small stone carvings for sale on the interweb are manufactured by machinery, either sandblasted or cast from cement and stonedust. The difference can often be seen by a flatness of engraving and a lack of fine lines and sharp points (serifs). A sharp chisel will give V shaped incisions, often with visible striation marks, and shadow forms that change with the light direction.
Artisan Folk Art ?
I initially trained and worked as a stonemason and conservator for English Heritage on Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments in the Wessex region, including Lulworth Castle. More recently I have been carving stone under the title Andrew Peter Stonecraft Without wanting to generalise, many of my carvings are utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Sometimes I am a sculptor, sometimes a craftsman but I'll settle for artisan.
Thank you for your message and the photo and, more importantly, for the bookends which have just arrived. They are as beautifully done as I expected. I was wondering if these are Portland stone or a different kind of limestone? They obviously look very different to the wedding stone I had from you and I was wondering if this is because they are unpolished or whether it's a slightly different stone.
Thanks again. Jenny"
Glad you like the bookends.
Thanks for the query. Yes they are Portland limestone.
Portland stone comes in 3 beds:
Roach, which is made of small fossils and has lots of voids, not suitable for carving ;
Whitbed, which has lots of very small shell and sometimes a few larger shells, it is good for building as it weathers well and can be carved although the less shell the better for carving, the layers in the stone can be seen from when the stone was formed on the seabed;
Basebed, which is the softest stone with no shell, it is the best for carving but doesn’t always last a long time when exposed to weathering.
All 3 stones can be seen on buildings when walking in London.
The pebble I carved for these bookends is a shelly whitbed. I try to choose Basebed for carving, as in the wedding stones, but when looking for a suitable pebble this was the only one I could find, I was hoping it was a shellfree stone but with some pebbles its not until it is cut open that the shells can be seen. I went ahead and am pleased how it turned out, any more shell and I might have rejected the stone and not been able to make the bookends. In fact cutting letters on a rough surfaced pebble is quite tricky as a smooth line is hard to draw and to correct, and when carving starts the pencil lines become a rough guide as it is the slope of the incision and where the 2 slopes meet that defines the letter shape.
Thank you again for the order. Andrew"