Cam Valley Arts Trail

I am taking part in the Cam Valley Arts Trail this weekend. It is a really well organised event with twelve studios and shared exhibition spaces, and a program of workshops and demonstrations. The venues are located in the villages spread along the Cam Valley, south of Bath. Check out the website for further information. My studio will be open for visitors from 11.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday and Sunday. I have had a good tidy up and assembled an exhibition of sculpture and lettering pieces. I shall be working on carving an alphabet too during the weekend.

Cam Valley Arts Trail Poster

Cam Valley Arts Trail Poster


CW2. Painting and finishing touches.

This week’s progress report has seen me painting the letters, and inlaying the brass acorns. Why paint those beautiful letters I hear you ask?



Well, when the sunlight falls across v inscribed letters they stand out really nicely, but this is England and on a dull day in November the contrast can be a little too low to reveal the letters at their best. So I have painted them the same colour as the stone, but a tone darker than the stone when it is dry and a tone lighter than the stone when it’s wet, adding just enough contrast to help with legibility when the light is rubbish. The paint is made by the German manufacturer Keim, and it is micro-porous, very hard wearing and has a sympathetic mat finish. This sensitive choice of colour should weather sympathetically as the marker ages too. A big thank you to Theresa Llewellyn who helped me paint 3 coats into 409 letters, thus keeping me sane!

Finally finished and ready to go.

Finally finished and ready to go.

The Marker is finished and ready for installation on Thursday. I don’t feel like I can fully relax until it is safely installed. I am looking forward to seeing it in position in its wonderful site in front of the historic Market Hall in Chipping Campden. It really is a lovely intimate space..

The brass acorn glinting in the sun.

The brass acorn glinting in the sun.

CW2. Now the light falls…

I became bored of counting every letter and every hour. I seemed to suck some of the joy out of it. So this week I have tried to cultivate a more relaxed attitude. If you are interested I have carved about 70%. More or less on target. I took a few pictures as the autumn sunshine reached into the workshop and spilled over the stone.

62%. In afternoon sunshine

62%. In afternoon sunshine


Light falls across the field of letters

Light falls across the field of letters

The images relate beautifully to the T S Eliot quote around the outer edge. Text, image, light and letters finding a poetic synergy.

Now the light falls...

Now the light falls…

I was really pleased to have found this quote, as it seems to vividly capture the experience of the Cotswold landscape.

Now the light falls

Across the open field, leaving the deep lane

Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon

T S Eliot. “East Coker”, from the “Four Quartets”

CW2. Counting Letters

There are 409 letters to carve. The seven letters of T S Eliot are half sized making them  a lot quicker to cut. 402 two inch letters. My target is to carve the inscription in four weeks. More or less 100 letters per week. 20 letters a day. It should be easy, but they just wont go any faster than 4 in an hour. Sometimes only 3 in an hour. 7 every 2 hours. 21 in 6 hours which is a typical daily hit rate, because there is always other stuff that needs doing when your running a business. 6 uninterrupted, whole focused hours is pretty good going in a day. Today I saw a new client and I carved 9 letters and I fixed the alternator belt on the car. So this week I am 11 letters behind already and I have a couple of school run days when I will be lucky to carve 18 letters, that leaves 2 days when I need to carve 22 letters plus another 5 to catch up the 11, so I make that 18 + 18 + 27 + 27 and I am still a letter down!

How did I do last week? 91. visually nearly a quarter. Not too bad. Plus an eighth short of a  couple of concentric circles. I was getting up to speed and lots of things subverted my time. so I think there is still some better performance to find. I will still need to find those 9 letters though…

Cotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter Cutting

At the end of week 1 carving

Cotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter cutting detailCotswold Way Marker Stone. Letter cutting detail

Tomorrow is another day. everything might flow and I might carve 20 letters in 5 hours. Now I must go to bed and when I close my eyes I will see letters!