What tools will I need? Each student must be able to use a chisel and hammer, sandbag and safety goggles in classes. The stone and use of a chisel and hapmmer are typically included in the materials fee. In some instances chisels and extra pieces of stone will be also for sale separately, but this is not required. The tools are not very expensive, but it is critical to have the two or three correct ones.
All students in all classes should supply their own safety goggles and sandbags. The sandbags are critical to your success- and they are not supplied for you. Make your own with an old pillowcase partly filled with sand or unscented kitty litter.
A number of loaner chisels, hammers and mallets are available at all classes. Once you try a few different sorts, you may want to invest in your own chisels and hammer or mallet to continue your carving.
YOU SHOULD BRING: a pair of safety glasses or goggles, (no exceptions, all must wear safety glasses)
one or two old terry cloth towels
IF YOU HAVE IT. BRING: a small and solid hammer (soft iron stone carving hammers about 1 pound are ideal) (no claw end; balpeen type) with a short handle (we can saw them off for you)
AND/OR a smallish round wooden mallet (not a rubber one).
If you happen to have any carving tools, especially a flat chisel about 1/2 inch wide, please bring them along. So -called 'cold' chisels, usually painted in vivid colors, will not work for carving.
ALSO HANDY TO HAVE IF YOU HAVE THEM:
sandpaper in various grits (wet/dry type),
small needle files, riffler rasps, hacksaw blades, old screwdrivers
old t shirts for polishing cloths, and neutral shoe polish.
a small bucket or large ice cream tub for water
You probably have many of these things hanging around in the basement or garage. To do relief carving, you need a very flat, thin and sharp chisel designed for carving limestone and marble. As part of the materials fee, I typically include several pieces of stone and a chisel. With proper care the chisel will last a lifetime of carving. I will also bring lots of tools and supplies with me so you can borrow them.
Regarding wood carving tools: Bring your mallet but the rest of them should stay home; they are usually hellishly sharp and would break off in the stone anyway. The one exception to this would be rasps, which are very handy.
How hard is it to carve? It's relatively easy to break off bits of limestone with a chisel and hammer. Like every art, the success is in the finesse. It is not a difficult skill to learn, but the work itself requires persistence. One of the best ways to have success at carving is to create and execute a simple design as opposed to starting off with a complicated piece of elaborate Celtic knotwork. You can build up your skills and try more complex designs as you learn. The best way to help yourself get started is to BRING A SIMPLE DESIGN WITH YOU or create one when you get here.
How old do students need to be? Typically, only students over age 13 will be admitted as students. Some locations will vary as to this rule, so please check ahead. Adolescents need not be accompanied by parents; they are most welcome, and will find the class very suitable for them. All students must wear protective eye gear and paper dust masks.
Any other questions? E mail me if it has to do with the carving class. Questions about registration, accommodation and other information for the weeks I teach at are usually available at the hosting organizations’ websites. Please contact them for more info. Join the Celtic Carvers list by sending a message to: email@example.com, and share your questions and comments with my other students.