Art With a View Exhibition Garden

Learning to Carve Stone

Learning Stone Carving

I remember well the first stone I carved. Carving a Water Bowl for the Zen Garden created by the Sculptor Phillip King at the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park on Portland, Dorset. Grazing my knuckles against the rough Portland Stone. Stretching my tired muscles and becoming addicted to this beautiful medium.

So when I teach and think of the skills I’ve learnt over time. I can really relate to my students on their first Stone Carving Workshop. Learning how to hold the tools. Getting the right angle and hit from your hammer. Trying to execute your idea and making it real.

Portland Stone has its character and needs constant adjustments when carving. Being a Sedimentary Limestone its made up of tiny sea creatures, shells, changing its hardness. Around 70 Million yrs old and used to famously construct St Pauls Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

Students Hard At Work

These are a few examples of Stones I’ve carved over the time. Some personal Sculptures and others decorative. Carved for the restoration of certain classed buildings. The techniques are always the same. Roughing out, refining and finally finishing.

There is a real satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when you take a block of Stone and transform it into your unique design. Using hand techniques that haven’t changed from bygone times. Its very meditative and I adore the sound of stone being chipped. Music to my ears. Much nicer than the noise of machines. Although I’m sure if the Romans had electricity they would of been the first to use them!

So if you feel inspired? Why not have a go at some chipping? I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you can create.

Day Stone Carving Workshops at Whitestones Portland

The Stone Carving workshops are set up for those wanting to take time, to situate, learn and find pleasure in discovering ways of expression through stone carving.

Providing starting points, encouraging the development of ideas, knowledge, skills, visual awareness and creative potential.

Stone Carving Workshops for Beginners


23rd March and the 20th April 2019

10.00-4.30

  • The Stone carving workshops will give you the opportunity to sculpt a small relief of your own design ( or by using one of my templates )  on a piece of Portland Stone.
  • The course is suitable for ages 12+
  • Tools and materials are supplied as well as protective safety glasses.
  • Appropriate clothing to be worn (i.e. enclosed shoes)
  • The stones vary in size but to give you a rough idea here are some sizes. 22 x 20cms, 18 x 22cms. If you have a design in mind and can print out different sizes that would be great.
  • Coffee & Tea supplied. 
  • If you decide to use your own design please bring images/drawings.

The cost of the one day course is £85. To reserve a place or make an enquiry you can E-mail me. johndavey61@live.com or phone 07460467116

There is also a wide selection of tasty, locally sourced cakes and lunches available in the adjacent White Stones Art Café. All participants receive a 10% discount on food and drinks purchased in the Café.

Come and have a go. Let your creative side come out.

Sculpture is easy! You just carve down to the skin and stop! Michaelangelo.

Whitestones Eco-pods

Alongside the Studio are three ECO Artist retreats accommodating up to three adults each. If you would like to make the most of your time on the Jurassic Coast why not include an overnight stay. 

Visit the White Stones web address for accommodation booking information.

Portland Stone Quarry Blocks
Portland Quarry Stones