Abstract Stone Carving Course with Mark Stonestreet, 11 -13 August

Abstract Stone Carving Course with Mark Stonestreet, 11 -13 August

We have only ever done Stone Carving at the Phoenix once before so I am delighted by the prospect of having it return.

In August, Mark Stonestreet comes to join us for three glorious summer days where he will be showing us how to create free standing abstract sculpture. The dusty nature of stone means that we will be working under a marquee set within the studio’s beautiful meadow – what better way to spend your summer?

Mark spends half the year creating sculpture in the South Downs and the other half in Mamallapuram in India – a village of over 200 stone carving workshops. His life is in stone and I liked him the instant we met.

He is everything you would expect a stonecarver to be – sturdy, weathered (meant in the nicest possible way, I promise Mark!) with a warm, no nonsense personality that immediately puts you at ease. I know that our students will be in safe hands working with him and I cannot wait to see what they achieve!


DAY 1:

An introduction to tools, processes and different stones. Some basic health and safety, working in a way to reduce fatigue.

Carving a flat surface on the stone, this will introduce the tools their handling etc.

Transfer a simple design on to the flat surface, plan the carving process to efficiently remove the stone.

With the roughing out of the design will come techniques for carving basic form.

DAY 2:

Finish the roughing out stage. Then moving onto more detailed carving to refine the form.

Beginning to think about the presentation such as whether to have a base and what orientation the final carving should be in.

DAY 3:

Finalising the carving.

Going through the finishing processes, exploring the possibilities of textures and treatment of surfaces.       

Fixing your piece to base if needed.

Finally an informal group chat/presentation of works by participants to the group.

This fun course includes:

  • Informal, relaxed & attentive guidance for every student, provided by Mark Stonestreet
  • Step-by-step demonstrations covering…
    • How to work with the tools and stone safely,
    • How to create an abstract design that will look good and have structural integrity,
    • How to transfer your design to the stone and carve into it efficiently to create the basic shape,
    • How to add detail and refine the carved form,
    • How to finish and present the form (looking at finishes, treatment and mounting).

Suitable for?

Anyone, but please note that you will be using a chisel and mallet throughout the three days and this will take it’s toll on your arms and body.

We generally limit the age to 16 years old+ though exceptions can be made where appropriate. Please contact James Orts and ask.

What is included in the price?

  • Three full days tuition (10am-4.30pm)
  • Materials, including Portland stone, safety gear and the tools you will need for when on the course
  • You could consider making a simple printed course handout outlining the technique’s main principles and useful links/suppliers – Totally your choice though!
  • Tea, coffee, biscuits/cakes
  • Use of a beautiful, purpose built art studio with all the equipment & materials you will need
  • Beautiful countryside setting

This course is for you if:

  • Want to realise drawings and 2d designs into 3d or an introduction to visualizing your ideas in 3d.
  • You want to explore your creativity but lack the confidence to do so on your own
  • You want to learn how to work safely and competently in stone
  • You want to get away from it all and immerse yourself in a fun, creative environment

Pre course prep

It would be useful to gather, sketch out or think about what abstract shapes you are drawn to. Mark will be able to provide ideas as well and advise you on which of your ideas may work best so having some ideas to work from would be useful.

You will be working outdoors so come prepared for the forecasted weather and all students must work in sturdy shoes.

You will be sent an automated email on booking which prompts you towards documents that help you prepare for your time here. If this does not happen then please email James before the course.

Need accommodation?

If you are travelling from further afield and would like to stay in the area for your visit then have a look at our recommend B&Bs and hotels.  Click here for the list.

Beyond The Course

Having completed a Phoenix Studio course many of our students choose to explore the medium further. They may come on another weekend course, start coming to our Creative Monday Sessions, or carry on independently at home. We are more than happy to help and advise you in taking those first creative steps!

£350 for course including your tuition, stone, use of tools and materials


Complete the booking form (top right of your screen, or scroll down if you’re on a mobile).


Mark Stonestreet

Mark Stonestreet was born in Singapore in 1971. He studied Sculpture at Newcastle Polytechnic after which he travelled extensively in Europe, Asia and beyond, discovering mediums and methods that would become the foundation of his creative process.

In 2004 he discovered Mamallapuram in India, a village of over 200 stone carving workshops,  the next four years were spent working and living amongst the traditional Dravidian temple carvers of south India. Predominately working in granite, the artisans of Mamallapuram create carvings for Hindu temples all over the world.

Returning home Mark continued his learning, working with masons and stone carvers across Europe. He now works from his studio in the South Downs. His works can be found through out Europe, Asia and the USA in both private and public collections.

Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave!

Mark Stonestreet – Course Tutor (quoting Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncuși)

Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump

Mark Stonestreet – Course Tutor (quoting Rodin)

(Mark gave me two quotes to choice from, I like them both and couldn’t choose so you get both!)

A perfect way to spend a few days, really enjoyed it, i have a new respect for stone work and have spent alot of time since, staring at old buildings admiring the stone details.

John Johnston

Brilliant time spent learning the basics of stone carving, a really good insight into the process used to creating stone sculpture, Thank you.

Rosie Dawson

Thanks for a lovely few days, i’ll be back, so much to learn. I love my sculpture, many thanks!

Lisa Miles

£350 for course including your tuition, stone, use of tools and materials


Complete the booking form (top right of your screen, or scroll down if you’re on a mobile).

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