An Introduction to Letter Cutting in Stone

POSTPONED: An Introduction to Letter Cutting in Stone

SPAB Traditional Building Materials and Skills Courses at Coleshill, in association with the National Trust

22/10/2021 - 24/10/2021
Course Type: 


Introductory, Intermediate, General Interest, CPD, Leisure Learning
Conservation Skills Centre
Coleshill Home Farm,
SN6 7PT, Coleshill, near Swindon
United Kingdom

£440 pp

Event details

An Introduction to Letter Cutting in Stone

22 - 24 October 2021  THIS COURSE HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL SPRING 2022 - more details to follow soon.
Conservation Skills Centre, Coleshill Home Farm (National Trust), Coleshil, near Swindon, SN6 7PT
£440 pp 

Led by expert tutors, this weekend course provides a practical introduction to letter cutting in stone in a friendly small group setting. It is suitable for beginners, as well as those with more advanced tool skills. Our experienced tutors will guide participants through the various processes, starting with drawing letters and setting out.   

There will be an opportunity to create a small plaque and delegates are asked to come prepared with a word they would like to cut as part of their individual project.  The course also includes contextual talks exploring the traditions of the letter-cutting craft, and an opportunity to visit Coleshill Parish Church to look closely at historic examples.    

This course will appeal to anyone with an interest in letter cutting, either as an introduction to the craft or those wishing to extend their skills and understanding further.  

The SPAB is an IHBC recognised CPD provider and attendance certificates for CPD are available on request. 

This a is a two-and-a-half day course (Friday morning through to Sunday lunchtime). Refreshments and lunch are provided. Accommodation is not included. Spaces are limited to allow for small group learning.   



Friday, 22 October 2021
09:30   Registration 
10:00   Welcome
10:15   Introduction to drawing letters and the importance of form
10:45   Drawing practice and setting out - practical session
12:30   Lunch, and an opportunity to study some practical examples
13:15   Drawing practice continued
14:00   Hands-on letter cutting practice on stone and slate
15:00   Break
15:15   Hands-on practice continued
16:15   The process of setting out on stone
17:00   Individual project - setting out on stone
17:45   Review and critique 
18:00   End of day 1

Saturday, 23 October 2021
09:15   Registration 
09:30   Individual project - session one
11:00   Break
11:15   Individual project - session two
12:45   Lunch
13:30   Individual project - session three
15:00   Break
15:30   Individual project - session four
17:00   'Carving Useful and Beautiful Letters in Stone - Working in a Long Tradition', talk by Rory Young
18:00   End of day 2

Sunday, 24 October 2021
09:30   Registration and completion of individual project
11:15   Break
11:30   Visit to Coleshill churchyard
12:30   Close

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): 
The course will take place in a workshop. Delegates should wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear. PPE (hi viz, goggles, gloves) and all tools and materials will be provided. Delegates are welcome to bring their own goggles and gloves if they wish. 


Please contact the SPAB before booking to discuss any special access requirements.



Thomas Ball - carver and letter cutter in wood and stone
Thomas is a freelance carver specialising in restoration carving and letter cutting in wood and stone. Originally training as a technician illustrator and model maker, Tom then moved his focus to carving and studied historic carving at City and Guilds of London Art School. Now working as a tutor at the School, Tom continues to run his own workshop taking on private commissions as well as working alongside some of the country's top restoration companies. Tom has recently been awarded the Master Crafts Certificate by the Worshipful Company of Joiner and Ceilers.

Rory Young - designer, stone carver and repairer of historic buildings
Rory has been designing inscriptions and cutting letters in stone and slate for over 40 years, always in conjunction with statue carving for cathedrals and churches, stonemasonry, repairing historic buildings, teaching and lecturing. Rory’s work is in Westminster Abbey, the Guards Chapel, St. George's Bloomsbury, Carlisle Cathedral, the Chapel of the Dukes of Beaufort and parishes churches.


Traditional Building Materials and Skills Courses at Coleshill
This course is part of an exciting new series of practical courses offered by the SPAB in association with the National Trust and held at its training centre on the beautiful Coleshill estate in Oxfordshire.  Focusing on traditional skills and materials, particularly lime, and delivered by expert tutors, these courses combine introductory talks with demonstrations and hands-on skills teaching.  With small group sizes and a practical focus, there’s plenty of time for questions and discussion with tutors and fellow participants, and opportunity to try, develop or extend craft and building skills in a workshop setting. 

Other courses in this series include:
An Introduction to Lime Plastering, 8 - 9 October 2021
An Introduction to Lime in Building, 11 November 2021
Hot Limes in Building, 12 November 2021


COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures: Government COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in England, but we recommend that all delegates bring and wear their own mask during the workshop. Hand washing stations and hand sanitiser will be available. If you have any symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - a new, continuous cough; high temperature; a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - or have been in close contact with someone who has symptoms of the virus, we ask that you inform us immediately and do not attend the workshop. Our measures are subject to change in accordance with Government guidelines. 


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