Focus on creating sculptures to be touched and felt as well as
looked at as you explore black soapstone. It is intriguing,
relatively soft, dense in nature and when polished and oiled its
velvety blackness is revealed. Discover the challenges and
differences of working with a dark material, particularly surface
finishes, which can be matt and absorb light or be shiny and
In this course the material is centre stage. We will use only one type of stone - black soapstone. It is an intriguing substance, relatively soft, dense in nature and looks green, even the dust is green! It is only when polished and oiled its velvety blackness is revealed.
On the first evening you will be introduced to the subject and material and start planning for the following day.
Usually carvings are produced using light coloured stones to emphasise the forms and contours created by shadows. It is a challenge to use a dark material and the difference will be explored. It can be matt and absorb light or be very shiny and reflective. Also the feel is very silky and the first project will focus on a sculpture to be touched and felt rather than looked at.
Then you will, after consultation with your tutor, embark on an individual project based on your own designs that bring the qualities of black soapstone to the fore. Using the knowledge and experience gained from carving the first piece and seeing and sharing ideas and outcomes with the other students.
This stone can be carved by beginners and those with previous carving experience. During the course techniques and demonstrations will be given at each stage in the process from rock to finished sculpture. Subject matter is up to you but the stones come in boulder or flattish shapes and it's best to come with an open mind and see the rocks available first. We will use the method of direct carving. Various source materials will be on hand to inspire you and the College has a very good library. All tools and equipment are provided by the College for use on the course.
At the end of the course you will have produced a sculpture in black soapstone and be equipped to explore this exciting material further in your own practice.
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, 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)
Please note: This course takes place in the Sculpture Courtyard which is a short walk away from the main college workshops. It is covered but the building is open on one side.
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.