Stone carving – selenite with Paula Haughney

Carving in stone and wood

Ref: S4D11729

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2 places available

About this course

Come and enjoy the beauty of carving a sculpture in selenite. You will be transforming the translucent selenite from rock to sculpture using various techniques. The name derives from the Greek for moon.

Course Description

Selenite is a mineral belonging to the gypsum family. It is formed when sulphate and calcium rich saltwater evaporate and has a hardness on the Mohs scale of 2. Having a crystal-like texture and translucent when polished, it glows especially in the light. It is said to be a powerful healing crystal that promotes peace, calm, mental clarity, and removes negative energy. Hopefully this will aid the carving!

Selenite is softer than alabaster but because of the thin elongated structures, it must be worked in a sensitive way, taking note of the direction of the crystals. Chisels need to be sharp. It can be sawn, drilled and filed. Simple forms, be they figurative or abstract, will work best as any detail will be lost when polished. Be prepared to adapt your design to fit the stone, it’s probably best to wait and see what shapes are provided. The beauty of selenite being in its form and translucency.

A small sculpture will be carved first to explore the possibilities, aid design and practice techniques, also to experience polishing and different surface treatments. It then depends on what you want to make. By the end of the course, you should have completed a finished sculpture.

This course is for beginners and those with some experience, full instruction on methods and techniques will be given throughout. How you stand and hold a chisel is important to efficient carving. Teaching is by demonstration with individual and group tuition. Handouts will be provided on selenite, a book list, tool and stone merchants. There will be visual stimulus on the workshop walls, and books to browse through and inspire. It is beneficial to carve in a group, so much is learnt from each other in a positive atmosphere.


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 until 9pm, 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


  • On this course the College will supply tools and equipment for use by the students whilst attending the course, including dust masks and goggles.

What students need to bring

  • Images and ideas for a sculpture (though not necessary).
  • Sketchbook and drawing materials.
  • Camera or phone for recording.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • There will be a variety of shapes and sizes of selenite available.
Stout footwear, safety boots if possible, no open-toes or sandals. Apron or boiler suit, hat (it can be dusty), gloves to work in or to handle stone (need to fit). Sun cream if working outside. The sculpture courtyard is situated about a 5-minute walk away from the main house though can be accessed by road. We come back for lunch but have morning coffee and afternoon tea in the Carrington Studios nearby. Umbrella if forecast rain. The workshop is open on one side so be prepared for any type of weather. Stone carving is most effective standing up but can be achieved sitting down.


Paula Haughney

Paula Haughney,sculptor, stone-carver, maker and teacher studied at Portsmouth Polytechnic and Eastern Illinois university obtaining a BA and MA in Fine Art Sculpture. Stone carving came later, once found, she realised this was her chosen medium. Now having over 30 years experience and many monumental sculptures completed she has taught at all levels, exhibits regularly and is included in public collections worldwide.


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

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