Stone Carving & Sculpture Courses

Carving Stone in its Place of Origin 

Our courses have a great reputation for quality in teaching stone carving and sculpture and for new and innovative work made in the newly refurbished Stone I Work I Space at the Drill Hall, and in the open-air workshop of Tout Quarry Sculpture Park and Nature Reserve.

Tout means ‘Lookout’ and the quarry is hewn into the cliff top overlooking the great Chesil Beach that connects Portland to the Dorset and East Devon Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Once one of over 100 quarries on the island worked by hand it is an inspirational environment to explore and learn in with its sculpture, rare butterflies, grasses, orchids and natural balance of elements between sea, sky and stone.

Portland Stone is a freestone with finely grained oolitic structure of calcium carbonate that is safe to work with and can be carved in any direction with very fine detail. Our courses are affordable and provide the very best of professional tuition for beginners and all levels of skill

What does the course include?

  • Introduction to the sculpture, geology, family working histories and ecology  of Tout Quarry with its rare grasses, butterflies and orchids
  • Demonstration of stone carving techniques – use of hand carving tools as applied in sculpture, masonry, architectural carving, letter cutting
  • Selection of freshly quarried stone for individual ideas,  Lifting, moving and handling stone. Starting points for carving, individual tuition
  • Developing carving skills from roughing out techniques to fine detail as the week progresses.
  • Detailed carving and surface finishing techniques for Portland stone.
  • Informal discussion on work achieved – pointers for the future. (forms part of tuition during the course)
  • Tuition Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 5 pm (although times may vary if people want to work late)
  • Work photographed and loaded into vehicles on Friday.
  • Evenings (Optional and organized by members of the course)
    • PSQT ‘Drill Hall Gallery and Stone I Work I Space with refreshment area –   Coffee /Tea, Books, Wifi
    • Eating out  - Local Fish,Oysters,Crab, Vegetarian
    • BBQ at Beach Hut (when weather is warm)

Note: Indoor courses at the Stone I Work I Space also run throughout the year – well equipped with hydraulic carving bankers, lifting equipment, stone saw, with instruction in hand tools and use of electric / pneumatic tools. There is an additional cost for the use of lifting and powered equipment.

What to bring?

Some preparation is always good if you want to bring a sketchbook with ideas, photographs or a clay model. Pencils or charcoal are useful to help visualize the form by drawing directly on the stone. Strong footwear (steel toe-capped boots are recommended), working clothes, sunglasses, hat, safety glasses and personal carving tools if you have them. There is a low cost open market that comes to Portland every Tuesday if you need to buy anything, just next to the Quarry and the Heights Hotel where you can have coffee. Safety glasses can be purchased from the Trust.

On Monday we issue a toolbox with set of 5 carving tools and two hammers to use during your workshop. The tools are booked back in at the end of the workshop (tool losses are paid for at current cost of replacement).

On Friday we help you to load your finished sculpture into your car to take home.  Portland stone is very dense: 1 cubic foot weighs 140 pounds – 10 stone / 70 kilos.

Or Contact Us for further details.


Portland Sculpture & Quarry Trust is endorsed by ‘Inspired by 2012′


Upcoming Events

9:30 am Stone Carving and Sculpture Course @ Drill Hall Stone Workspace
Stone Carving and Sculpture Course @ Drill Hall Stone Workspace
Dec 14 @ 9:30 am – Dec 18 @ 5:00 pm
One Week Stone Carving and Sculpture and Sculpture Course. Starts Monday 14 Dec 9.30am and finishes Friday 18 Nov 5.00pm. Places available.
9:30 am Stone Carving and Sculpture Course @ Drill Hall Stone Workspace
Stone Carving and Sculpture Course @ Drill Hall Stone Workspace
Feb 8 @ 9:30 am – Feb 12 @ 5:00 am
One Week Stone Carving and Sculpture Course. Starts Monday 8 Feb 9.30am and finishes Friday 12 Feb 5.00pm. Places available.

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Skylarks Poem – “QuarryBells”

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