Stone Carving

1.The stone

For this direct carving of an otter, Polyphant stone or 'soapstone' as it is more commonly known, has been used. The term 'direct stone carving' means that no drawings or models are produced before carving a sculpture.

2. Roughing out

The lines of the sculpture are usually determined by the shape of the stone. When selecting the stone, I tend to look for the shape of the sculpture in it before I start. If carving an otter, for instance, I will visualise the head, body and legs and then carve the form close to the contours of the stone.

3. Mallet and claw chisel

Initially, a large wooden mallet and 'claw' chisel are used to carve away the largest pieces of stone, revealing my visualised shape.

4. Files and rasps

Occasionally I will mark the stone with a wax crayon to help guide the shape. At this stage large stone (or wood) files and rasps are used to further define the sculpture's shape.

5. Raw linseed oil

The first of many coats of raw linseed oil is applied to the sculpture and repeated daily. The residue is then wiped off to prevent the surface becoming sticky. This gradually creates a much harder surface and also brings out the colour of the stone.