Stone carving is an ancient art. Talented masons and carvers are responsible for Britain's most beautiful and revered buildings and sculptures.
Photo by jackPeasephotography
Wells Stone Carving Festival will showcase this craft with which the city of Wells has such a strong connection.
Taking place at The Bishop's Barn, a medieval tithe barn in the heart of the city, a group of talented stone carvers from across the UK will spend just three days turning a block of stone into a piece of sculptural artwork.
The artists will be given the same size and type of local stone and the theme of Medieval England: Knights, Bishops & Kings - a brief which covers heraldry, the church, the crown, crusades and grotesques.
Come and see the dedication and skill this unique craft requires firsthand, try your hand at letter cutting and carving, or bid on the artwork you'd like to own on the final day auction.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to The Bishop's Barn, Wells Recreation Ground Trust.
Read our event poster.
About The Bishop's Barn
Wells Stone Carving Festival is part of the Into the BARN scheme organised by The Bishop's Barn, Wells, which offered 10 groups free use of the barn and the surrounding recreation grounds to hold a series of events.
The Bishop's Barn is a grade I listed medieval tithe barn that is linked to the nearby Bishop's Palace and would have originally been used as a grain store.
This scheduled ancient monument is a site of architectural interest and is one of only 200 remaining tithe barns in the UK.
The event is being run to raise funds for the barn, and to find a sustainable and viable purpose for the building that will benefit the community.
The Bishop's Barn
Saturday 5 May 2018 10am–6pm
Sunday 6 May 2018 10am–6pm
Monday 7 May 10am–3pm
07774 821 881
Meet the Artists
Oliver has been a stonemason for over 28 years now. Working his way up from builder to master stone carver/sculptor. The former resident of Leigh-on-Mendip has achieved national success winning Gloucester Stone Carving Festival 2015 and worldwide success sculpting in competitions in:
- Italy: 1st place Pontebba 2018
- China: 3rd place Harbin 2018
- Sweden: Artists' Choice Kiruna 2015
He will be representing Britain in Oslo, Norway this August. But home is where the heart is and he will always find time to carve stone here.
Maarten de Graaff
Maarten is a banker mason and stone conservator by profession and previously worked for Portland Stone Firms and Sally Strachey Historic Conservation, Currently he works for Wells Cathedral Stonemasons. He took part in the Weymouth College boss stone competitions and the Winchester Cathedral Stone Carving Festival in 2016. He will participate at the European Stone Carving Festival this year in Saverne, France.
Alex works as a stonemason at Winchester Cathedral, which is where he trained after graduating from Cardiff School of Art in 2012. He uses the Norman and Gothic style of work to explore the idea of what it is to be truly British.
David is a stonemason for Bristol University. He has had some experience in stone carving but is keen to improve his skills which this event should enable him to do.
Will has worked at Winchester cathedral for three years, Before that he worked on a freelance basis in London on a variety of restoration, lettering and sculptural projects.
Formally trained as a stonemason, Tanya's passion is stone carving and producing
unique works of public art by commission, for collectors and memorials.
At school in Wells, Pippa spent hours in the Cathedral, fascinated by the energy and humanity of the masons’ work, but she originally trained and worked as a children’s book illustrator. Later she learnt the tradititional skills of stonemasonry at City of Bath College and has been working as a stonemason/sculptor for the last 17 years. As well as working in stone, she also regularly takes part in snow carving festivals with fellow sculptor Patrick Barker.
David has been carving for eight years following retirement from the business world. He has won the Derbyshire Open Sculpture Prize and is founder member of the Hartington Sculpture Group in the Derbyshire Peak District.
After a masonry apprenticeship at Canterbury Cathedral and a diploma in
stone carving at the City and Guilds of London Art School, Nick worked many
years working as a sculpture conservator at English cathedrals including Wells,
Exeter, Salisbury, Canterbury, Rochester and Peterborough. His own sculpture is
carved in alabaster which he sources from mainly from North Somerset and
South Wales beaches. Nick also runs weekend stone carving courses at his studio
Ross is a 35-year-old cathedral-trained stonemason based in the Cotswolds and has been running his own business RS STONEMASONRY LTD since 1998.
Having retired from his previous job in 2013, Mark trained as a stonemason at Moulton Collage Northampton, He is now the stonemasonry technician at the college. He took part in the European stonecarving competitions in Austria in 2016 gaining a second place and in Hungary in 2017 winning the master carvers category.
Jim (53) has actively been carving since attending a stone carving course at Shute Farm Studies in 2006, led by Laurence Tindall.In 2007 he started stonemasonry training at Bath College and has worked largely in historic building conservation since then. Jim previously worked in sport as a PE teacher, lecturer and sports scientist. His work is influenced by themes of sport, animals and gothic architecture.
Severed his apprenticeship at Chichester Cathedral as a stone mason.
Tom has been involved all sorts of restoration projects ranging from small medieval churches to Cathedrals and public buildings
His carvings are mainly inspired from Romanesque and medieval carvings and paintings.
Tom runs weekend stone carving courses from his home in Somerset and can be contacted on https://www.tomclarkstonecarver.co.uk/.
James Wheeler Architectural Stone Carver, Mason & Conservator.
Based from his workshop close to Glastonbury, Somerset, James is able to take on many varied architectural stone carving contacts. Over the last 18 years he has worked throughout Britain and Ireland, producing work for Heritage and contemporary projects. His work has also taken him away to Turkey where he was invited to be part of a team of specialist conservators working on projects at the Aphrodisias Archaeological site.
James is also a member of the British Snow Sculpture team and has taken part in competitions throughout Europe and North America. In January 2018 the British team won the first prize at the Pontebba International Snow Sculpture Competition in Italy.
James can be contacted on email@example.com