Carving in stone and wood

An introduction to stone carving with Simon Keeley

Ref: S2D11105


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About this course

Produce a simple stone sculpture by modelling your idea in clay then transferring it to stone. You will learn new techniques and the appropriate use of chisels, as you develop and refine your piece.

Course Description

Learn the basic techniques for carving in stone, as you either complete a finished piece, or start one to progress at home with clear knowledge of how to complete it.

Using prepared sketches and research material, you model your ideas for carving in clay, which can be, for example, the simplified compact figure.  A minimum of one to three hours will be spent on this important part of the course.  You are then shown how to transfer a design from paper or clay.

Demonstrations by the tutor of the tools needed are shown throughout the course and you will receive one-to-one guidance to make sure your understanding of how to use the tools is correct.

The course is held in the sculpture courtyard reached by a walk through the orchard in the kitchen garden or can be accessed by road.  (The walls on one side of the Sculpture Courtyard are raised in the summer months to make it a partially outdoor working studio. During the winter months heavy canvas is fixed along this side and heaters used to warm the space. It can be draughty so we advise all students to bring extra warm layers. Stone carving can be physical and keep you warm but not all the time. If you have any questions please contact  The stone carving facility is well equipped with many different types of tools and equipment for student use.  We come back to the house for lunch but morning and afternoon tea/coffee is provided in the Old Dairy.

Day one
Complete clay model.  Demo of pitching, punching and claw chisels.
Demo of marking up stone block.  Demo of flat and small claw chisels.  Working the main block.

Day two
Demo of flat and small claw chisels.  Working the main block.
Demo of callipers and depth gauges.  Working the main form.
Demo of fishtail chisels.  Refining the main form.
Demo of different finishes.  Still refining form and finishing off.
Group discussion.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

You should make at least 3 sketches of what you would like to carve – plan, front and a section view if possible.
Good shoes or boots (no sandals) – steel toe caps if you have them
Old work clothes – it’s a dusty business
Eye protection and facemasks are essential – if you have them please bring

Available to buy

Available from shop:
H pencils
Tracing paper
Wet and dry paper, various grades
Stone:  A Maltese stone will be available for this course and can be bought through the College Shop.  Prices will depend on the weight and are currently around £2 – £3 per kilo (£1.50 per lb). (These prices may have to change without notice if subsequent deliveries are obtained at higher prices.)

Clay is provided – you will need to pay for the amount used.

Face visors and other protective equipment may be borrowed from the workshop.  Your tutor will advise you.


Simon Keeley

Over the last twenty years Simon Keeley MA has been designing and carving stone carvings for important buildings such as Westminster Abbey, Westminster School, and Harley Street in London. In recent years he has won Gold and Silver awards for The Craft and Design Magazine.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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