Stone carving – birds, wings and feathers with Paula Haughney

Carving in stone and wood

Ref: S5D12570

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About this course

Focus on the movement, form and texture that these feathered creatures have to offer. Using your own design, carve a bird inspired sculpture from one of a variety of stones available.

Course Description

Birds are fascinating creatures with many different shapes and forms which translate well into a stone carving. Bird motifs appear worldwide in the symbolism of religion, art, dreams, folktales and mythology.

After experimenting with a small model, make a finished sculpture, which could be a whole bird, wings or the head and beak. Your sculpture can be naturally realistic in form, simply abstracted, or freeze framed in action. To fill you with inspiration the walls of the studio will be covered with images and ideas to aid your thoughts and design, and you will be able to hear bird song in the grounds outside.

You will begin by making a small model in clay to help you explore the possibilities of the design. As most of the carving is done by hand tools, a simpler design is best achieved in five days.

The method practised will be direct carving. A variety of stone is available and some of the stone is cut into blocks. You can make use of the more natural rock shapes to inform your sculpture. If you have a specific type of stone you would like to carve, you can bring it with you.

For beginners, practical instruction and advice in basic stone carving will be given. If you already have some experience, individual tutorials will help you to pin-point goals and facilitate technical advancement. Demonstrations on the different stages of carving a sculpture will be given throughout and a wide range of visual references and technical hand-outs will be available.

At the end of the course, there will be an informal exhibition to record and celebrate your achievements and marvel at all the birds created. As well as your final sculpture, you will have gained knowledge and confidence in stone carving techniques.


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


  • All stone carving tools and equipment are provided by the College for you to use during the course.

What students need to bring

  • Any resource materials, pictures, books, inspirations and photographs.
  • Gloves to work in or for handling stone
  • Strong boots or shoes (steel toe caps if you have them)
  • Overall or apron, warm clothing as it can be cold
  • Sketchbook, phone or camera to record progress

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including some stone carving tools and wet and dry paper
  • Available from tutor:
  • Some old reclaimed limestone and chalk pebbles
The stone is paid for in the College Craft Shop but stored in the sculpture studio and chosen as the course progresses per individual requirements. Different types of stone are available to buy from limestones, soapstones and alabasters. Prices range from £3 a kilo. Maltese Limestone is sold by size. All stone carving tools and equipment are provided by the college for the student to use during the course. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots if you have them.


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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