Sculptural stone carving with Paula Haughney

Ref: SSS31584

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About this course

Explore carving sculptures in stone in a well equipped studio in beautiful surroundings. Techniques and methods will be taught according to individual experience.

Course Description

Stone is a wonderful and versatile material and comes in a variety of colours, textures and degrees of hardness. There is a rock to suit and challenge all abilities. This course is for beginners and those with some experience. The aim is to give you time, the environment and knowledge to create and carve your own sculpture.

The course will answer some of these questions:

What rock is suitable for carving?

How to carve comfortably and efficiently?

What to carve?

How to begin?

What method?

Where do you find tools and stone?

You will begin with a set project, carving a small sculpture in soapstone. You will go through the stages from shaping to polishing, using different tools to reduce the rock, make marks and change its shape. You will be sympathetic to the stone, but be in command of your tools and become more confident in the choices you make. The health and safety connected with stone carving will be covered.

Either come with some inspiration and ideas or wait until you see the stone and the visual stimulus that the course and environment provides. The gardens and glasshouses are abundant in striking shapes and forms. Stone can be be purchased from the College, but be prepared to adapt your ideas to the shape and type of stone available. Some, like Maltese limestone, come in sawn rectangular blocks, but others like alabaster and soapstone have one or more natural surfaces. Colour and texture can also play a part. Limestones are plain and neutral whereas soapstones can have strong markings. Time will be spent planning, designing and making clay models before moving on, with discussion, to the main task.

Teaching will be done by demonstrating techniques and methods to the group and by individual tuition. Digital or paper handouts will be given throughout the course.

The Sculpture Courtyard has a well equipped studio, open on one side (covers can be pulled down if it rains). It is situated a short walk from the main house, giving a lovely experience of the orchard and greenhouses on the way. All tools and equipment are supplied to use during the course.

By the end of the course, you will have obtained more skills and experience in carving a stone sculpture.

Summer School highlights:

The Summer School week is an immersive learning experience with more time to develop your creativity and embrace opportunities for creative development beyond your chosen course. A detailed timetable for your Summer School week will be given to you on arrival. This will include:

• Short inspirational talks by tutors and displays of their work

• A short creative experience session in another discipline/media or course

• An optional evening at the Chichester Festival Theatre (if pre-booked)

• An optional lunchtime tour of West Dean Gardens, the historic rooms at West Dean College, or West Dean Tapestry Studio

• A celebration dinner on the last evening themed on Impressionism, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first Impressionist exhibition held in Paris in 1874. Feel free to respond to the theme if you wish.

• Informal end-of-course group reviews and displays of students' work in studios

As evening events are planned as part of the Summer School week, dinner is included in the course fee to enable all students, including non-residents, to participate fully.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Bring ideas and inspirations, sketchbook and pencils.
  • Camera or phone for recording process
  • Apron or overalls, hat, gloves to work in or to handle stone (need to fit)
  • Suncream if working outside or umbrella if forecast shows rain

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Stones are available to purchase, chosen from the stock in the Sculpture Courtyard and paid for in the shop. Some stones are paid for in weight at around £6 per kilo or by size.
  • Available from tutor:
  • Some additional stone.

Additional information

Please note: Your workshop will be in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is a 10-minute walk from the main house through the walled garden or can be accessed by car. The Sculpture Courtyard is open on one side so be prepared for any type of weather. Morning coffee and afternoon tea will be held in the nearby Carrington Studio. You will return to the main house for lunch. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no open toes or sandals). Safety boots if possible. Stone carving is a dusty activity. Safety equipment (safety glasses and ear defenders) can be borrowed, masks are provided but you might like to bring fitting gloves to work in. Eye protection and face masks are supplied by the College and are essential. Full health and safety instructions will be given. Stone carving is a physical activity, and it is most effective when standing up but can be achieved sitting down. There may be possible equipment restrictions in the tutor’s absence.


Timetable for Summer Schools

Several evening events are planned throughout the week, a detailed timetable for the summer schools will be given to you on arrival.

Arrival Day

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).

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 should vacate their rooms by 10am please.

General Information


Paula Haughney portrait

Paula Haughney

Paula Haughney,sculptor, stone-carver, maker and teacher studied at Portsmouth Polytechnic and Eastern Illinois university obtaining a BA and MA in Fine Art Sculpture. Stone carving came later, once found, she realised this was her chosen medium. Now having over 30 years experience and many monumental sculptures completed she has taught at all levels, exhibits regularly and is included in public collections worldwide.


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

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