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A day of stone activities at the Festival of Materials & Making, November 2011

Posted by: Will Wootton 12 years, 7 months ago

Last Thursday was our Stone: The Material and Those Who Make With It day of events as part of the Festival of Materials & Making here at King's. The day began with geological walking tours along the Strand and Embankment, followed by a carving demonstration and series of workshops, and was rounded off with lectures in the evening, all focused on stone, stone-use in London, and the craft of working stone. Thank you to everyone who attended and made the day such a success. We are particularly grateful to John Williams and Diana Clements of the Natural History Museum, Kevin Hayward of Pre-Construct Archaeology Ltd, Adam Lamb of City & Guilds, Will O'Brien at CWO for supplying the stone, Zoe Laughlin and Graziella Terracciano from the Institute of Making, and especially our two stone carvers, Andy Tanser and Paul Jakeman.

Above: Participants on the first geological walking tour of the morning hear about the granite of the Henry Fawcett monument in Victoria Embankment Gardens and the limestone of Somerset House with John Williams.

Below: The carving demonstration by Andy Tanser and Paul Jakeman gets underway in front of the Festival of Materials & Making's shed in the main foyer at King's. Andy and Paul take turns roughing-out an over life-size portrait head, working successfully with a pitching tool, a punch, and a tooth chisel on a block of Bath limestone.

Below: The tools and blocks arrayed for the start of the carving workshop, Andy explaining techniques to one group of novice carvers, and everyone getting involved.

The purpose of the day was to introduce people to stone as it is used in the built and decorated world which surrounds us. Participants looked at stone as a building material with particular structural characteristics and geological and geographic origins, offering both scientific explanation and historical narratives for their arrival on the Strand. Later people were exposed to the sights and sounds of stone carving through the demonstrations, and its sheer physicality through the practical workshops. The following audio recording gives a good idea of just what it sounds like to have fifteen carvers chiseling at blocks in a confined space: Carving Workshop Audio

Places for these activities were booked up in about a day and around 80 people in total took part, whether walking, watching, carving or listening. Do follow our News and Events pages to find out about similar activities in the future.