Over the last few months, I’ve been working on a lovely house sign that will eventually be fixed in Suffolk.
What is really interesting for me about this project is that I had to carve raised lettering, which is a first for me. It’s also a large sign, as far as house signs go, which sort of sets it apart.
Eric started by sketching on the letters looosely, to give them a bit of movement and life, then the drawings were tightened up and made more definite.
It was then my job to carve out the letters and hen-peck the background (another first for me!), to give the letters more contrast. Hen-pecking is when lots of small divots are carved into the stone with a point, instead of a flat chisel. It gives a wonderfully craggy texture to the background.
Several passes of more refined carving were required to neaten everything up and make the hen-pecking look even and uniform.
I also rounded and shaped the outside edges and corners by hand, which not only softened the look of the stone and made it look more organic, but also helped to protect the edges from breaking.
The only thing left to do was to decide how we would paint the sign, and what color we would paint it.
In the end, we decided to paint the background and leave the border and raised letters as natural stone. This would allow for maximum legability, which was important as this sign is to be placed on a sharp corner, and needs to read immediately.
As for the color, the client chose a nice terra-cotta color. We carefully mixed several options and tested them on the stone, to be sure we got it right.
The stone has now been painted and is awaiting some minor refinement. I think it looks pretty good, and I’ve really learned a lot while making it. I hope the client is as happy with it as I am!