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Process | Stephen Hitchin


In simplistic terms, carving stone relies upon the irreversible removal of material from the block. In many ways one of the pleasures of carving is the simplistic nature of its practice.

The contemplative process that accompanies working in a solitary manner helps support a more intimate dialogue with the stone. The dialogue between material and concept appears more crucial when working with a reductive process, a level of concentration being paramount.

Creating a sense of harmony with the stone helps me establish empathy between material and my imagination, the two needing to co-exist for decisions to be made and agreed.

The process of carving stone has many similarities to that of drawing, in that it is a relatively simple process requiring few tools and is, by and large, a solitary process. The correlation between the two processes cannot be overstated and in many ways I see no distinction between the two, the one supporting the other.

The role of drawing is vital in the relationship between the initial idea and the block of stone. As the work is loosened from the block, initial ideas and forms are always confronted by new options, some declined and some taken.

The physical nature of stone, coupled with the reductive process of carving, allows new options to be presented at each phase of the work, allowing new forms to challenge the intended plan.
This decision-making process is the most crucial part of carving. As unconsidered options present themselves, the decision as to which route to follow becomes, increasingly, important to the final outcome.

Stone is a paradoxical material in that it suggests density and a sense of unyielding presence, yet at the same time a fragile material that requires great sensitivity and dexterity to carve. It is this very paradox which has always drawn me towards it and continues to fascinate me.