Gravestones and Memorials
The type of stone is selected not only according to appearance and texture, but to reflect and enhance the inscription in stone. Many ideal stones and slates are to be found within the British Isles, including Portland limestone, Welsh slate and York stone. Traditional gravestones tend to be made from British materials rather than imported stone such as Nabressina and Chinese granite; this practice continues in my work. Slate gravestones are known for their durability and their allowance for fine carving. A slate gravestone may be honed (smooth) or riven, but never polished as this would stall the weathering process. Portland gravestones on the other hand, have an air of classicism to them and Commonwealth war memorials are made from this material. Portland stone is porous, and begins to weather over the first two years, but does not erode like sandstone. The inscription must be carved boldly and not be fussy .Other suitable materials for hand carved gravestones include Hopton Wood limestone, Nabressina, Cumbrian green slate, and Cretan stone (from Lincolnshire). Examples of these materials, and many more, can be seen in the workshop.
When choosing the right material for opening plaques and memorial plaques, it is important to consider location. Is it to go inside or outside? Will it get touched and what is the colour of the wall and the amount of light in the area? Space is also a consideration, as often the area is small and the lettering is confined to specific dimensions. As a rule, slate is a good choice as the lettering is clear and easy to read. It lends itself well to being painted or gilded, and can be embellished with a coat of arms for example. If a lighter coloured stone is required, then Hopton Wood limestone is a good alternative as it is hard and will accept small, elegant lettering.