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In-person course

Abstract stone carving course with Mark Stonestreet


About the Course

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!

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.

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
Please add any suggestions that you can think of!
Pre course prep

It would be useful to gather, sketch out or think about what abstract shapes you be are drawn to. Mark will be able to provide ideas as well and advice you in 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 weekend 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!

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's 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


James Ort at The Phoenix Studio
The Phoenix Studio
Chinnor Rd
Towersey, Near Thame
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Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Hen dos
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Public transport
  • Romantic
  • Stag dos
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers
  • Wheelchair users

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3 days

Available dates:

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