Lettercutting in stone and slate with Tom Perkins

Ref: SLW13480

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About this course

Expand your skills in letter carving with a mallet and chisel. Learn 'V' cutting to gain confidence or, if you have experience, refine and improve carving techniques whilst studying letter forms.

Course Description

This course aims to teach the technique of 'V' incising letters in stone and slate with a mallet and a chisel. For beginners, it offers an introduction to the skills, while those with some previous experience of letter carving can refine and improve their letter carving quality and spend time on drawing letters, depending on their interests.

Beginners will practise letter strokes and carve some letters – aiming either towards a short, finished piece of work or just letter carving practice – this will depend on your aptitude and experience. Others may work on a project with a brief text, set by the tutor, or one of their own, guided by the tutor, depending on experience. The tutor will give group demonstrations, individual tuition and a slide talk on contemporary lettercutting on the first evening.

Guidance on drawing letters for carving and the design of inscriptions can also be given.

You will leave the course with confidence on how to approach carving short texts or letters from scratch, and an understanding on what makes good letter carving and layout, and carving techniques for achieving this.


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)

Course Materials


  • The course fee includes one piece of either Portland stone or black slate for your project, provided by the college (approximate dimensions 350mmx350mmx50mm).

What students need to bring

  • Stout fully covered footwear - essential in the workshop (no sandals)
  • An apron
  • You may bring a choice of letters to carve; these may range from a couple of words to a house-name, or perhaps a logo or initials, depending on experience
  • You may also bring your own stone (but not granite) or slate if you wish, although it is not necessary. Portland or York stone, or Welsh slate are suitable.
  • Mallets and chisels are provided for students to use in the workshop, but if you have your own carving tools and would prefer to bring them, please do so, but make sure that they are clearly marked with your name.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A3 layout pad
  • HB, 3H pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser
  • A ruler, set square*, compasses*
  • White water-soluble crayon
  • Tracedown (carbon paper)
  • (*For those wishing to do drawn lettering)

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Tom Perkins

A letter carver/lettering designer for almost 40 years, Tom Perkins trained in calligraphy at Reigate School of Art and Design, then a year as letter carving assistant to Richard Kindersley. He has taught at The Roehampton Institute and on short courses in the UK, USA and Japan. His work is in a number of private collections and at the Crafts Study Centre, Farnham. His book The Art of Letter carving in Stone was published by the Crowood Press.


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.