Stone Carving & Sculpture Courses

Carving Stone in its Place of Origin

Our courses have a good reputation and following as ‘the place’  to learn and carve freshly quarried Portland Stone, in the open air workshop at the heart of Tout Quarry Sculpture Park and Nature Reserve Tout means ‘Lookout’ and the Quarry is hewn into the high clifftop overlooking the great Chesil Beach.  

Tout Quarry is a naturally regenerated and historical environment ‘built by the skills, intuition and hard team work of the quarrymen’, an inspirational landscape to work in, with the balance of elements, of sea, sky and stone. 

Portland Stone is the finest of carving stones, soft enough to carve with very fine detail and yet extremely durable – and being almost pure calcium carbonate is good for health and very safe to work with.  Stone carving courses also take place in the newly refurbished Stone I Work I Space at the Drill Hall.

Our courses are affordable and provide the very best of professional tuition, and designed for beginners and all levels of skill.  Images below show work from one week stone carving and sculpture courses.

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 for 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.
  • 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)
    • PSQT ‘Drill Hall Gallery and Stone I Work I Space with refreshment area –  Cold Buffet, Coffee /Tea, Books, Wifi
    • Eating out Tuesday – Local Fish,Oysters,Crab, also Vegetarian
    • BBQ at Beach Hut – Thursday

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.


Upcoming Events

all-day Weekend Stone Carving & Sculpture Course @ Community Stone Workspace at Drill Hall
Weekend Stone Carving & Scul… @ Community Stone Workspace at Drill Hall
Jan 16 – Jan 18 all-day
Weekend Course – starts Friday 16 Jan at 9.30am – finishes Sunday 18 Jan at 5.00pm. Places available.
9:30 am One Week Stone Carving & Sculpture Course @ Community Stone Workspace at Drill Hall
One Week Stone Carving & Scu… @ Community Stone Workspace at Drill Hall
Feb 16 @ 9:30 am – Feb 20 @ 4:00 pm
Course starts on Monday 16th February at 9.30am – meeting at the Drill Hall – finishes Friday 20th Feb at 4.00pm. Places available.

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Skylarks Poem – “QuarryBells”