I am happy to take on a variety of scale of projects from larger sculptural commissions and inscriptions to small scale projects such a plaques for commemorative purposes, date stones, house names or small relief carvings or sculptures. Whatever the scale of commission it is important to follow a clear process so the client understands the stages from beginning to end.
The client may be able to supply helpful information early on. For example:
• Subject matter and themes.
• Wording (if an inscription).
• Where will the piece be located?
• What sort of scale of piece is required?
• When is it required for?
Some clients may be clear as to what they want in terms of themes, subject matter and wording (if it is an inscription). Others may be less certain about what they are looking for. In either case it can be beneficial to meet to discuss the project so that I can understand better what you want and for you to explore a bit further as to what can be achieved. This early discussion may open up ideas and possibilities that will improve the final outcome of the commission. If it is not practical to meet then this initial ‘dialogue’ can happen by email or letter.
Most of my work is produced in a variety of slates, limestones and sandstones. Occasionally I work in marble. I do not work in granite. At the brief stage it is important to have a discussion about materials and finishes. Most of my lettering work is produced in stones with a fine honed (but not polished) surface but slates can be riven to create a more ‘natural’ appearance. This can be an interesting option as long as lettering is kept large and it is accepted that letter forms will be more ‘rustic’ in appearance. Different stones placed out of doors will weather at different rates and in different ways. Limestones and sandstones will gradually change colour and begin to attract growth of algae, lichen and moss. For lettering on plaques and headstones you may wish to reduce this effect by entering into a cleaning contract with a local monumental mason or you may wish to allow the stone to ‘soften’ gracefully into its environment as the natural weathering and growth of lichen etc takes place. Slates on the other hand will retain their original colour and appearance for many years except that the cut letters will gradually darken from light grey to the same colour as the natural uncut slate. If a contrast is required to be maintained then the letters can be painted in, to keep the light grey appearance of freshly cut slate.
For some projects where a harmony is required between a piece and its location then a careful assessment of local geology is important when selecting materials.
Rough Sketch and Quotation
I will then produce a first rough sketch and quotation so that you can decide whether you want to proceed with the project. There is not usually a cost for this initial ‘rough sketch and quotation’ stage unless there is a requirement for a very large amount of design work (for example where the commission is large or there a requirement to explore a large number of design options).
My quotation at this stage will be broken down into four elements:
• Production of Detailed Design
• Materials (supply and delivery to my workshop)
• Delivery of the finished piece to the agreed address.
I do not usually carry out installation/fixing of pieces myself but can supply small pieces with fixing points attached. I can assist with obtaining quotations from Masons for fixing and installation of finished pieces. For some larger commissions it may be necessary to engage the services of a Structural Engineer.
If at this stage you decide to proceed with the project then I will need to be commissioned formally in writing referring to the quotation and date. I will then produce a detailed design for your approval.
Formal Approval of Detailed Design
For lettering commissions it is very important that you check the detailed design drawings carefully checking all wording, spelling and punctuation to make sure that it is what you require. Please also check to make sure that there are no words inserted that you don’t require or words or dates omitted. I will require formal approval in writing of the detailed design before we progress to the next stage. I carry out further subtle but important refinements to the design when I draw the design onto the stone and carry out the cutting/carving process. These last two stages are more than a simple ‘design transfer’ process.
Obtaining Permits, Faculties, Listed Building Consent, or Planning Permission
When siting work in public places, churchyards, cemeteries, ecclesiastical buildings, listed buildings or on historic sites various permits must be granted before work is made and installed. It may therefore be necessary for the client to submit the final designs to various bodies for approval before we move on to the next stage and order the stone. I can assist with advice in the gaining of these various permissions if required.
Once you have approved the final designs and all permissions have been granted then we are ready to order the stone. At this point I will usually require payment for the detailed design and payment on account for the supply and delivery of the stone to my workshop.
Final payment of the remainder of the costs is required on delivery of the completed work.