Dark Stone

Letter Carving Workshop

I am available to teach both calligraphy and letter carving in groups and for private tuition. I have over twenty years experience of teaching adults and children and hold a level 4 PTLLS qualification. I can offer practical workshops for schools and societies. I am regularly booked to give talks on historical aspects of lettering.

Course fee: £160

Course aim:

This course is part of the Parndon Mill Summer School, please click here for more details. The aim of the course is to introduce complete beginners to drawn lettering and the basic techniques of carving letters in stone. This course is also suitable for anyone who has had some previous experience and wishes to develop their skills.

I will bring some randomly shaped pieces of Cumbrian green slate with a natural riven surface and a selection of Purbeck stones that you can choose to carve on. Alternatively, you may have your own piece of stone that you want to use. If this is the case please speak to me about this beforehand so that I can check the suitability of the stone for carving.

Equipment list:

Students will need to bring the following items:

  • Pencils, HB and or H
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Eraser and calculator
  • Ruler, at least 30cm
  • Layout paper, ideally A2, if not A3
  • A drawing board if you have one, but not essential
  • Dust mask and safety glasses (Due to the high silica content of sandstone it is essential that dust masks are worn when sandstone is being carved.)
  • Steel toe capped boots or sturdy footwear
  • Packed lunch and a mug

I will supply all other equipment necessary for carving such as letter carving dummies (mallet), chisels, sharpening stones, easels and lighting. If you have your own dummy and chisels you may want to use these as you will be more familiar with your own tools. Should you wish to purchase your own dummy and chisels, I can give you details of suppliers or you can purchase the equipment from me at cost price plus postage.

I will also provide tea, coffee and biscuits.

Reading list:

I highly recommend that you read one of the following books before the course begins as this will help to provide you with an overview of what will be covered during the course.

Tom Perkins, The Art of Letter Carving in Stone, (The Crowood Press Ltd, 2007) (This has become the standard reference book for letter carving and has detailed advice on drawn lettering and carving techniques, drawn alphabets and many photographs of contemporary letter carver's work, a must have book for anyone interested in lettering.)

Michael Harvey, Carving Letters in Stone & Wood, (The Bodley Head Ltd, 1987)

Richard Grasby, Letter Cutting in Stone: A Work Book, (Sacketts, 2011)

Example of letter carving

Dates: The next courses will be held from 16th-17th August 2017

The course will be run over two days and will be structured as follows:

Timings: the course will run from 10am to 5pm each day


  • Course welcome and introduction
  • A short presentation on the 20th century revival of lettering
  • Tea Break
  • Introduction to drawing Roman capital letters
  • Lunch
  • Drawn lettering
  • Draw a letter/s to carve.


  • Introduction to letter carving
  • Practise carving
  • Break
  • Draw inscription project
  • Lunch
  • Draw inscription project
  • Carving of inscription project


Parndon Mill
CM20 2HP