Stone carving – the head in soft limestone with Patricia Barker

Carving in stone and wood

Ref: SLW12459

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About this course

Using soft Maltese limestone, you will be carving a head from your own design. The head is an archetypal subject that has been represented across many cultures. Your approach can be stylised or realistic.

Course Description

The human head is a fundamental subject in the history of sculpture whether representing a specific individual or fulfilling a more symbolic role.

To help clarify your idea, you will first make a small model, which will be used as a guide for beginning the carving. You will take the carving through the stages of roughing out, developing the forms and finally finishing the surface of the stone.

The course will begin with a brief survey of stone heads from a variety of cultures, showing the range of approaches that are possible. Reference material will be available to help with the development of a small model or it can be based on your drawings or photographs (preferably from several views).

The method practised is direct carving. The stone supplied is Maltese limestone, which is relatively easy to carve, and the block will be roughly proportionate to the human head. You will be shown how to use carving tools and given guidance through the different stages of the carving.

For beginners, practical instruction and advice in basic stone carving will be given. For those with previous experience of stone carving, tutorials will be offered to help advance your practice. There will be demonstations given for different stages of the carving.

At the end of the course, you will have a stone carving of a head and you will have gained knowledge and confidence in stone carving techniques, and in your own artistic expression.


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:
  • Clay
  • Wet and dry paper in various grades
  • Abranet, wax and rags
  • Maltese limestone 10x8x8 inches approximately

What students need to bring

  • Reference material for your head (preferably several views, especially profile and full face)
  • Sketchbook and pencil, if desired
  • Work clothes and head covering
  • Sensible shoes/boots – sandals must not be worn in the workshop
  • Gardening type gloves (optional)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • General art materials
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Patricia Barker

Patricia completed an MA in Fine Art at University of Central England in 1994. She has exhibited at The Discerning Eye and the Royal Society of British Artists. She is a member of Chelsea Art Society and in 2020 was awarded the Sloane Stanley medal. 


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

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