A new feature at this year's Natural Stone Show is the Sculptors' Studio, where some of the industry’s leading artists have been invited to exhibit examples of their work in a celebration of the best of British creativity, craftsmanship and design.
The Lettering Arts Trust has created a niche for itself as a champion of the art of lettering and letter carving. It raises awareness of the art form and ensures that the role of the master craftsman and a rich lettering heritage is valued. Ensuring the continuum of these skills through a programme of education, apprenticeships and journeyman schemes, it holds a range of workshops across the country in artists’ studios.
Mark Brooks, an experienced calligrapher and lecturer, has been carving all his working life in a broad range of media including stone, brick, ceramics, glass, pen and paper (calligraphy) and digital for print and fabrication. His work ranges from the huge landmark sign at Margate’s seafront for The Old Kent Market to intricate monograms for bespoke jewellery. He has also carved the large title lettering into the front of the Masons Headquarters in Covent Garden, as well as 300 hand-carved and gilded slate placecards for an extravagant party thrown by a well-known retail magnate. He dedicates much of his time to bespoke headstones and memorials in stone which he considers an important and rewarding part of his work.
Also a Trust affiliate, Lois Anderson runs a letter-carving workshop in Islington, North London. She studied letter-carving for two years at Weymouth College, then worked for Richard Kindersley as an assistant in his London studio for a further two years. She works to commission for new projects as well as restoration and cleaning of old stones. Lois mainly uses indigenous stones but will also re-purpose old materials, and diversify to other media. In addition to applied lettering on buildings and being the stone carver to RIBA, she creates signs for houses, public buildings, interior and exterior decorative pieces and memorials.
Renowned as the organiser of the Gloucester Stone Festival, Carrie Horwood’s career started at Christ Church College in Canterbury, where she achieved a degree in sculpture in 1999. She secured work experience in the mason's yard at Canterbury Cathedral, which brought conviction to her decision that this was the career path that she wanted to pursue. In the summer of 1999 Carrie moved to Gloucestershire where she became the first woman apprentice stonemason at Gloucester Cathedral, and by 2005 had set up her own business undertaking many types of commissions involving letter cutting, sculptures and smaller designs. She will be bringing a number of pieces to the Sculptors’ Studio including Angel Lepine and Mother and Child, as examples of the work available to buy from her studio at Taurus Crafts on the edge of the Forest of Dean.
Famous for her animal sculptures, examples of which will be exhibited at the Sculptors’ Studio, Pippa Unwin originally trained as a children’s book illustrator at Cambridge Art School and worked on several published books. Her desire to express her work in three dimensions lead her to study further and she completed NVQs 2 and 3 in Architectural Stonemasonry and Carving at Bath College which lead to an apprenticeship with Keystone Masonry in Salisbury. With five years’ experience behind her, she starting to take commissions of her own working on restoration, new build, lettering carving and sculpture and now continues to work for herself predominantly on fireplaces and sculpture from Mewstone Masonry workshop near Kingsbridge, in Devon.
Jude Tucker’s education in art commenced in 1966 and she continued to study art until the mid-1970s exploring many mediums including ceramics, printmaking and large charcoal drawings. It was only after visiting the Portland Sculpture Trust in Tout Quarry on the Dorset island in 2003, in an attempt to recover from a period of ‘artists block’, that she turned to stone. This marked the start of her training in stonemasonry during which time she had the opportunity to design and carve two grotesques for St Georges Chapel, Windsor. She was offered her first exhibition in 2007 and continues to exhibit her work whilst also running stone carving courses. Her distinct signature style of flowing sculptures celebrating the beauty in the natural world, including Dovetail and Amphora, will be shown at the Natural Stone Show.
Specialising in public art sculpture, Graeme Mitcheson graduated from Loughborough College of Art in 1995 and won his first significant commission on ‘Cures’, a 2-metre tall, hollow white limestone column with a spiralling inscription of more than 3,000 carved letters for the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. His other major works include an 8-tonne granite Millennium sundial in Leicestershire and four sculptural seats for New Walk in Leicester, an ancient walkway into the heart of the city. His tactile and eye-catching work can been seen all over the UK, with sculptures in Belfast, Northumberland and Wales. He will be bringing models and maquette used in advance of making the large-scale public artworks to the Sculptors' Studio, to give an insight in to the preparation and planning involved in creating his full-size finished works. Visitors to the show will be able to see scaled versions of The Flower, a life-sized bust of The Scout and Mussel.
The Natural Stone Show will be complemented by Hard Surfaces, the new event showcasing the latest products and trends in the fast-moving field of surface design. Hard Surfaces brings together the full production, design, specification and purchasing chain and is the only exhibition in the UK focusing exclusively on Hard Surfaces and directly related products and services.
By co-locating, The Natural Stone Show offers an attractive proposition for architects, designers, developers, fabricators, specialist contractors, installers and KBB outlets.