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.
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.
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)
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.