Stone carving is the earliest form of representational art, dating back hundreds of thousands of years. Selecting rough natural stones and sculpting them to a chosen design is an art mastered and practised by many ancient societies. Then, as nowadays, the rough stone would influence and inspire the artist to create a piece sympathetic to its original shape.
David Williams enjoys using different types of stone for his carvings, from Welsh slate to sandstone, serpentine, soapstone and alabaster. Ancaster Weatherbed Limestone is medium to course-grained from the middle Jurassic age, found only in Ancaster, Lincolnshire, and it’s one of David’s favourites.
“Being Cotswold based, limestone is an obvious choice for me although I prefer the Ancaster to our very local stones for most work. I do love the Weatherbed because of its very hard, steady consistency, which makes it really good for letter carving, as it produces a sharper edge when cut. It has two tones running through it; a blue grey and soft ochre, which give it an attractive, tactile finish, and when polished the sheen produces a very beautiful marble-like effect. Some of the bigger blocks have swirls of the two tones running through them, and these often guide me towards an appealing interpretation when carving or lettering.
You can only buy it from the quarry in Lincolnshire, or reclaim it from building projects or spoil heaps, so I do have to make the journey North in a hired van from time to time to pick up supplies. The smaller pieces I find often inspire my work, like the Heart Labyrinth and Three Little Bird pieces in the Turrill Garden show, while the larger slabs that I buy from the quarry, are normally used for pieces like Falling Leaves II.
Whichever way I finish the stones I’ve carved, Ancaster Weatherbed always looks really good, whether it’s a large garden sculpture, or something more modest for indoors.”
Come and spend some tranquil time in Turrill Garden in July, and admire David’s rendering of the ancient art of stonemasonry.