Stone Carvers - The Next Generation
The work being done by these student stone carvers is amazing, but then, they are being trained by some of the best in the country.
We recently supplied a block of Lavoux Fin limestone to Fyfe Sands, one of the third year students on the Stone Carving course at the City and Guilds Art College in London. The block is for one of his course work pieces - he's going to carve two capitals (the stone scrolls that sit on top of architectural columns). When the block was ready to be delivered, Fyfe invited me to the college to visit the studio to see some of the other students' work and to meet some of the tutors.
There are 18 student stone carvers currently on the 3 year course. The quality of the carvings is extremely impressive. Some of the "work-in-progress" third year pieces are below:
3rd year Stone Carvers studio at the London City and Guilds Art College
Stone Carver: George Edwards
Stone Carver: Tom Clark-Collins
Stone Carver: Fyfe Sands
Fyfe introduced me first to some of the students as they were working on their project pieces. Their enthusiasm for what they are doing is completely infectious.
As part of their training, the students were encouraged to source their own stone to get an understanding of how they should go about the process of identifying suitable stone, liaising with suppliers, negotiating prices and planning in the lead times.
I also met two of the principal tutors on the stone carving course - Nina Bilbey and Tim Crawley. Nina and Tim have both used the French Lavoux limestone before and are very accomplished stone carvers. The college is fortunate to have carvers of such calibre as tutors. As well as their work in the college, they also take on commissions for private projects.
Nina carved the two statues of the Queen and Prince Philip that stand outside Canterbury Cathedral. These were made from Lavoux à Grain, the same stone that is currently being used in the restoration of Canterbury and various other UK Cathedrals. Her web site describes the process of creating these statues - royal statues for Canterbury.
Nina has also worked on the Houses of Parliament, the Royal Barge, St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle and many more prestigious projects.
Tim is head of Historic Carving at the college and a former president of the Master Carvers Association. Tim's restoration projects include the "Beasts of Bloomsbury", the Queen Mother Memorial and Westminster Abbey. His new stone carving works include Kenilworth House, the Globe Theatre and Juxon House in London.
He is currently working on two heraldic greyhounds for the exterior of a small chapel. They will replace the original greyhounds that date back to the Tudor era. Amarestone, our sister company, supplied the two blocks of Lavoux à Grain. We're looking forward to seeing the finished pieces.
Tim explained how the college operates as a charity and, with a relatively limited budget for materials, really appreciates help from quarries so that the students get the best experience of working with high quality stone.
If any stone quarries would like to support the college by supplying stone blocks for future projects, I'm sure the college would appreciate a donation. Please contact them directly here: C&G contact
Sponsorship of the City and Guilds Art College
During this summer term, there is a carving competition which will allow the students to show off their skills at the end of term open day. To help out, Pierre Heritage GB and Amarestone, together with Pierre Heritage (France) and the Carrières de la Vienne quarry company have donated 18 blocks of the finest Lavoux Fin stone for the carving competition and a further 12 blocks of Rocheville French limestone for a final year project.
The open days in May form part of the London Craft Week. You can visit the Stone Carver studio and other sections of the college on May 11th and 12th 2018. Further details here: https://www.cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk/london-craft-week-2018/
For details of the 2019 event, please visit: https://www.cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk/london-craft-week-2019/
Thanks for reading.
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