My studying of carving and lettering started when I attended The City of Bath Art School. From 1972 I then entered the trade to become a monumental mason, to which I served an apprenticeship. During this period I learnt the skills of carving and lettering memorial stones by hand. By working with various stone types this has given me great knowledge of what can be achieved in carving a memorial stone. While in my apprenticeship I studied the setting out and hand cutting of Roman lettering at The Sydney Art College in Bath. This foundation enabled me to obtain various awards in the art of letter cutting by hand. By erecting and cleaning many types of memorial stones over the years, this has formed a good basis and understanding of the way they can be constructed.
In 1986 I started my own business, which has enabled me to follow my beliefs and love in such a trade. Also from this year I have lectured on a part time basis at The City of Bath College. This has given me the chance to pass on my skills by lecturing to a variety of young and mature students from our country and overseas.
Sadly over the years I have witnessed the decline of students in our trade sent by companies to learn such a skill. This is the result by the introduction of stencil cutting by computer and sand blasting to obtain a lettered inscription. It was once said of a journalist that was sent to interview Rodin, that he had to stand and wait for 2 hours before the concentration of this great French sculptor could be broken. A break in such a period of time today, would only interrupt the production of a fully lettered memorial from a trader solely dependant on this method.
Applying careful thought and planning a memorial stone can be designed and carved to suit an individual requirement. Carving and lettering a memorial stone by hand in my view, creates a tribute of feeling to complement the sad loss of a loved one.