Lettercutting in stone and slate with Tom Perkins

Ref: SLW33122

Book now

Places available

About this course

Taught by a leading practitioner, beginners will learn the tech n ique of 'V' incising letters with mallet and chisel, and for more experineced participants, refinement of carving techniques. Letter design and letter drawing will also be available.

Course Description

Beginners will practice carving letter strokes and letters in stone or slate, and can either continue learning to draw and carve more letters or aim towards carving a word or two. It is recommended that beginners start with Classical Roman capitals, but other letterforms will be available for all levels as required.

Those with more experience can focus on refining their carving technique with letterforms of their choice, designing and carving a brief text if required. Letter design and drawing tuition will also be available . The tutor will give group demonstrations and individual tuition throughout the course, and a slide talk on contemporary letter carving on the first evening.

You will leave the course with confidence about letter carving technique and how to approach designing and carving letters and short texts, and an understanding of what makes good letterforms and basic text lay-out.

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)
  • 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

Additional information

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


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


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.

Courses of interest

Calligraphy – italic hand

22 to 24 Sep 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Mary Noble |
Suitable for all

Calligraphy – italics, uncial and foundational

25 to 27 Oct 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Gaynor Goffe |
Suitable for all

Modern brush calligraphy – festive metallics

19 Nov 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Maisie Minett |

Calligraphy – create an illuminated letter

18 Nov 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Cathy Stables |

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.