Letter-cutting and design in stone with Matt Loughlin

Ref: S4D32367

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About this course

The focus of this course will be learning the basic technique of "V"carving to render lettering and simple line imagery in stone, with a special emphasis on drawing letterforms and building cohesive designs.

Course Description

The aim of this course is three-fold: to teach you how to conceive and build a cohesive design using lettering as well as graphic motifs; how to draw and construct traditional and contemporary letterforms; and how to carve V-cut – or incised – lettering and line imagery with a mallet and chisel.

The initial goal for this course is to familiarise you with the basic tools needed to carve lettering and linework – namely a mallet and chisel – and teach you the basic techniques of carving, as well as how to sharpen and maintain your tools.

Learning to carve, however, is really only a means of rendering a design. Topics such as conceptualising a design, sketching and building a layout, and drawing appropriate letterforms will be given special emphasis. While the focus of this course is on hand-drawn lettering, Matt will also touch on how he integrates digital tools into his traditional practice and workflow.

Everyone is free to bring their own words or simple inscriptions to carve, or Matt can help you develop them. You are encouraged to bring any examples or reference images that may inspire you or inform what you carve. Some reference books and examples will be available for you to look at.

Beginners will focus on the basic elements of drawing and carving letterforms, with an aim of completing a carved word or simple inscription by the end of the course.

More advanced students may bring existing designs to work on, if they prefer, provided they fall within the realm of simple inscriptions or linework and are not too large.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the College will supply a piece of either Portland limestone or slate (measuring approximately 35 x 35 x 5 cm), and some equipment to borrow during the course, including dummy mallets, tungsten carving chisels, sharpening equipment and protective eyewear.

What students need to bring

  • Sturdy, fully-covered shoes (no sandals, etc.)
  • An apron or smock (there will be a bit of dust)
  • Tools will be provided, but you may bring your own clearly labelled tools.
  • Stone will be provided, but you may bring your own (as long as it is not too large and not granite).
  • Pencil and drawing pad
  • Any lettering, words, or imagery you are interested in carving

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • The shop stocks a range of art materials, including layout pads (A3 size), pencils (HB, 3H), pencil sharpeners, erasers, rulers, set squares, compasses, white water-soluble pencils and carbon paper.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Matt Loughlin

Matt Loughlin is a traditionally trained letter-cutter and stone carver based in Somerset, England.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.

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