Upon receiving a request to supply a stone with a specified inscription for a quarry where I source my building stone, I sought instruction locally about how to carve inscriptions into stone. I soon realised that there was nowhere to source such information in Adelaide, or indeed the whole of Australia, as I discovered when I expanded my search for guidance. Searching online, I discovered a number of professional letter carvers operating in the United Kingdom offering opportunities for training. The purpose of travelling to the UK is to participate in a series of workshops that will enable me to learn from professional carvers about carving techniques, stone and tool selection, and begin to build an understanding of letter design which is regarded as the most important aspect of the practice. A great design can still be great even if it is poorly carved, but the best carving in the world cannot save a poor design. I will also be visiting a number of carvers in their workshops and studios to observe how they set up a functioning workshop and the process of producing a commission from an initial enquiry to delivering a finished product. I intend to discover information about the history of the craft and how it has survived to be present in contemporary times despite being such a niche endeavour. I intend to return to Australia with enough knowledge to be able to produce and promote hand-carved stone inscriptions to offer an alternative to contemporary methods of presenting script intended to last and in a manner intended to impress the observer. I also see the importance of this is to be able to continue the dialogue that stone inscriptions have set up historically and use the craft to establish a continuation between contemporary culture and the cultures of our past. Stone inscriptions relaying information and telling stories have existed in Australia and worldwide for thousands of years. Giving energy to the practice now will add a current voice to an ancient dialogue.
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