Last summer I finally had a chance to take a course in stone carving. Do you remember the briefest pause between lockdowns and the short-leashed hindrance of tier living?
In that golden bubble of time I travelled to Norwich for a week to learn stone carving with Charlotte de Syllas, who is a head-swelling walking wealth of knowledge and the most wonderfully open person to learn from. I was asking questions with what felt like a brazen greed to know more.
If anything seeds itself in my head and begins to keep me awake at night, it's finding a thing and not being able to see or find how it was made.
It's been a few years of internet round-housing and book hunting in the pursuit of learning how intaglio carving happens. What the tools are, the materials, the process etc. It niggled at me without end and when I finally found Charlotte's course I realised that in order to be able to do anything with my stones, I would need to know how to set them first. Also, I would need a driver's license.
I waited year to work on my silversmithing abilities and another year to take Anastasia Young's course in stone setting at Central Saint Martins. It didn't come to me naturally.
I know next to nothing about the various long-practised crafts that make their way to the Goldsmiths Hall but realised how incredibly fortunate I was to stand in Charlotte's studio as she happily pulled out pieces of her work to show us, noting how each piece was made and held together - that I would otherwise have to wait and only maybe one day see, behind glass or in a book, without Charlotte herself right there to answer those questions that were already settling in and fizzing away in my grey matter.
Below are some photos of the process, working with black jasper, pink opal and blue chalcedony.