Stone carving – flora, fauna and fungi with Paula Haughney

Carving in stone and wood

Ref: SSS11654

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2 places available

About this course

Be inspired by the beautiful surroundings of summer at West Dean. Learn to carve an expressive, vibrant sculpture using various types of stone.

Course Description

Summer is a lush and vibrant time of the year. Explore the Gardens and woodland walks of West Dean taking a sketchbook or camera to record images. This will add to the information and inspirations you bring with you, helping to create your proposed sculpture.

The brief is wide, your design could be based on an animal, a bird, plants or fungi, in an abstract or a more faithful rendition, even a close-up detail. Come, learn and enjoy the beauty of carving a sculpture in stone and be prepared to adapt your design to fit the stone shapes provided.

A small sculpture will be carved first to explore the possibilities, aid design and practise techniques. It then depends on what you want to make; advice will be given on which stone to use (whether it is to be for outdoor or indoor display), and how to achieve the desired outcome. Instruction will be given on polishing and surface finishes for different stone types. By the end of the course, you should have completed a finished sculpture.

This course is suitable for all including those new to stone carving; full instruction on methods and techniques will be given throughout. How you stand and hold a chisel is important to efficient carving. Teaching will be by demonstration with individual and group tuition. Handouts will be provided on stone types, books, tools and stone merchants. There will be visual stimulus on the workshop walls, and books to browse through and inspire.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening, with a surrealist theme inspired by Salvador Dalí, who was one of West Dean founder, Edward James’ friends and collaborators. (Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.)

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully. A detailed timetable will be given to all students on arrival.

(Please note that plans may be subject to change depending on GOV.UK guidance at the time.)


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

Course Materials


  • Tools and equipment.
  • Dust masks and goggles.

What students need to bring

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

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • There will be a variety of stones to choose from: limestones, soapstones and alabaster in various colours and shapes.
  • Maltese and other limestones, various coloured soapstones and alabaster. These are costed by size and weight. They can be up to £7 a kilo, depending on the stone.
  • Others are costed for by size. (e.g. Maltese Limestone)
  • Available from tutor:
  • Reclaimed stone and different types of stone.
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 five-minute walk away from the main house, though it can be accessed by road. You will take lunch in the main house and have morning coffee and afternoon tea in the new Carrington studios nearby. An umbrella is useful if rain is forecast. The workshop is open on one side, so be prepared for any type of weather. Stone carving is most effective when you are 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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Our Foundation Degree specialising in Furniture is designed to give you well-rounded woodworking theory and craft skills to become a self-employed maker or craftsperson, to continue your studies in higher education or to find employment in the creative industry sector. Find out more

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