The Making of an Abstract Sculpture

Thought I would just show how one of my abstract sculptures comes into being. In this particular piece, I was inspired by different curves, how they cross and intersect. It’s a recurrent theme that has been inspiring me for many of my work,s. It’s been carved in a  piece of Portland Basebed Stone, which has a beautiful fine grain. Perfect for a light polish.

Finished sculpture

Abstract Stone Sculpture by John Davey

” Cut ” Portland Stone


the creative process


I usually begin with a few rough sketches. Giving me different proportions and forms. As you can see there’s another idea on the page for reflecting pebbles. Will have to get back to that one.


Sketch of " Cut" Abstract Stone Sculpture.

Sketch of ” Cut ” Sculpture


The next stage is finding the right stone for the sculpture. I find it really helpful to have a stock of different sized stones to choose from. After selecting the appropriate stone I then draw out the profile by hand which gives me a reference to the final form.

Making of a Stone Abstract Sculpture

Sketching out of profile on Block of Portland Stone


Then I use stone grinders and spinners to rough out the profile. While I’m carving I can then refine the curves, finding the correct shape.

Roughing out stone sculpture

Carving The Profile

The next step is to find its three-dimensional form. I begin by drawing out chamfers which are progressively carved smaller and smaller. The width of each chamfer determines the finished shape.

Making of Stone Abstract Sculpture

Roughing out the main form.


The sculpture is then refined using files and different grades of abrasive papers. This is where I work out any small bumps or dips. The imperfections that are not seen by eye are really found out by my hands passing over the surface. I then work out the base, trying different stones, sizes, textures. Then drilling through each stone to insert stainless steel rods. These are fixed in place by using a strong stone epoxy glue.

Making of Stone Sculpture

. The Refined Shape with Base


So I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into how I work. I will be busy getting ready for the Dorset Art Weeks in a few months. Tutoring a few taster stone carving workshops for those that fancy getting creative and will be setting dates, details as we come closer. Time to get chipping!