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Workshops and Educational Services

Workshops, Demonstration, Talks and Lectures

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Examples of work produced on our courses and workshops

Practical Workshops in Stone Carving, Letter Cutting and Stonemasonry 

Beginners

An achievable project is chosen within the skill level of the attendees; this may be pre-assessed or determined informally within the session introduction (works well in longer sessions).  The choice of design/theme will depend on the interests of the group or individual.  A basic set of skills will be taught in a relaxed, interesting manner and students should find the experience fun and encouraging. Teaching at this level is suitable for students with no prior craft experience.

Intermediate

 

Building on a pre-acquired basic level of skill, the attendee will broaden their repertoire of skills whilst working on a more challenging project. They will also be offered tailored advice and guidance on their craft technique which may involve the introduction of more specialist tools and processes.  The focus should be on building experience and confidence to achieve more successful results for the hobbyist or aspiring craftsperson. 

 

Advanced

 

Similar to the intermediate programme with attention paid to higher order carving techniques.  Workshops with these students will also incorporate more of the advanced craft and design theory where relevant; including the use of proportion, geometry, symbolism, the psychology of design and the history of architecture and the craft of stonemasonry.  These workshops will serve to cultivate a deeper knowledge of craft theory and to consolidate the grasp of  applied techniques for more established craft practitioners.

 

Students at all of the above levels are best served in groups of similar ability, in which a level of knowledge can be presumed by the teacher and overall progress is not delayed.  Workshops may be held over a single day, a continuous short course of 3-5 days or on a regular day over a longer term course of several weeks.  

 

Workshop days are most productive when held over the course of a working day, typically 9am - 5pm, with a scheduled lunch break and provision for informal refreshment breaks, which are particularly important for newcomers to the craft who will need time to develop their stamina and focus within the craft process. 

 

Stephen will recommend a project that can realistically be comfortably completed within the allotted day or programme schedule and students usually take their completed works home to show family and friends.

Demonstrations and Masterclasses

At an entry-level event, Stephen can offer an inspiring glimpse into the craft, practically demonstrating a range of time-honoured techniques and tools with a brief explanation and opportunity for Q & A’s.  Seminars may be more generalist or tailored to the interests of particular groups, e.g. museums, art clubs, freemasons’ chapters, corporate team building events and WI groups.

 

Many key features of the craft process have remained unchanged for millenia, but for academic audiences with an interest in history, an informed insight into the early evolution of tools and techniques can be offered and technological advances in modern history outlined and evidenced.

 

In architecturally significant venues, Stephen can illuminate on the design and construction of stone buildings, the role of the Master Builder and relevant, site specific craft theory and history.

 

For professional audiences, Stephen can share his experience and expertise on a range of topics with applications for architects, designers, antiquarians and collectors, conservators, museum staff and educators alike.

 

With advance preparation, Stephen is able to carve a copy of a piece from a specific building, museum exhibit or private collection and, where relevant, can employ tools available to the original carver whilst bringing to life the craft processes contemporary to the piece.  Such demonstrations may be filmed for educational and/or entertainment purposes and, in the case of museums, can be used as part of a display.

Speaking Engagements

Stephen has engaged audiences at a range of speaking events for public, private and charitable organisations over the years and is able to educate, inspire and entertain people of diverse backgrounds, from total newcomers to the craft through to professionals and post-graduates.  

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen is delighted to share the wealth of knowledge, expertise and fascinating experiences that he has collected over forty years experience in the craft; from specialist education in a City of London Guild school along a colourful craft ‘journey’ that took him on foot all over Europe and culminated in South Africa, through to his illustrious international career as ‘Court Mason’ to the world’s royalty and nobility.  

Stephen holds the position of ‘Remembrancer’ for one of his Guilds and, as such, is pleased to be questioned on the lesser-known and more specialist fields of interest within stonemasonry and its associated history and culture.  Seminars may be curated more specifically for audiences with niche interests or to complement a specialist event.  Previous seminars have covered such diverse topics as:

 

  • the civil arts as applied to craft training, 

  • harmonic proportion, 

  • the mechanics and physicality of the practice of stonemasonry, 

  • the enhancement of wellbeing through craft practice and the crafted environment, 

  • the theory of craftsmanship, 

  • team management and education within crafts, 

  • the social and political history of stonemasonry and stonemasons’ guilds. 

Tailored Tuition

 

Stephen is available, by appointment, for private craft tuition and guided tours of his studios at Woodchester Mansion near Stroud in Gloucestershire.  One-to-one tuition is especially suitable for craft practitioners with prior experience, either industry professionals looking for specialist tuition in specific skills (e.g. stonemasons looking to further their skills in marble carving or polishing) or sculptors seeking technical advice and guidance in precision stone-working techniques.  Below are selected testimonials from students who have experienced private tuition with Stephen:

 

“This environment has encouraged me to learn, not through necessity or duty, but through inspiration, passion and curiosity.  Training has instilled in me a commitment to realising my own highest potential in my work. I feel a sense of connection with the past through the unbroken traditions Stephen upholds and a profound sense of purpose, belonging and community amongst fellow craftspeople.”

 

 - Frances Elston, BA,MSc.

 

“This experience has helped me immensely to advance my research into medieval sculpture. My work focuses on the impact of materials and working methods on the aesthetic, form, and language of the body in stone architecture, mainly of the Romanesque period. Learning about the practicalities of carving, the relationship between the carver and the material, and the attitudes of craftspeople towards their work is helping me to better understand the sculpture from a period that left us little evidence beside the artworks themselves.”

 

-Dr. Agata Gomółka

Editor, Events Coordinator, The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland (CRSBI)

Doctoral Graduand, Associate Tutor, Department of Art History and World Art Studies, University of East Anglia.



 

Some groups and organisations that have benefitted from these services:

 

  • Public Records Office Norwich

  • Norwich Castle Museum

  • Norwich Cathedral and Cathedral Library

  • The Albanian University, Tirana, Albania

  • Tishreen University, Latakia, Syria

  • The University of East Anglia

  • Petrie Museum, London

  • City Library, Norwich

  • Sam Fogg Gallery, Mayfair

  • The Courtauld Institute, London

  • The Norfolk Club

  • The Museum in the Park, Stroud

  • Cheltenham Archaeology Association

  • Gloucestershire Cave Rescue

  • City University, London.

  • Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

  • Woodchester Mansion, Gloucestershire

  • Save The Children (at Painswick House)

  • Stroud College

  • Various architects’ practices

  • Birmingham University

  • Bath Abbey

  • Museum of Bath Architecture

  • The Open Palaces Programme

  • UNESCO Bath City of Culture event

  • Glastonbury Music Festival

  • The Queen’s House, Greenwich

  • Stoneleigh Abbey

  • Bridewell Museum, Norwich

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