When I am commissioned to carve any sort of inscription I like to arrange to meet the client, usually at my workshop in West London or on site, to discuss details of the project. I can offer advice on the shape, size and type of stone required and then discuss the wording, style of letterform, design and layout, timescale and budget. I can also show examples of carvings and also samples of different sorts of stone which can be helpful.
After the initial meeting I will then send a scale drawing or drawings based on our discussions, these drawings I would hope to send to the client within three to four weeks of the initial meeting. As all the work I make is bespoke there might be some changes at this stage and ideas can go backwards and forwards before the final design is agreed upon. Often it is only when a client sees the ideas drawn up that they realize whether the design is or isnít exactly what is wanted.
I will also at this stage send an estimate for the cost of the work to be carried out. Generally this will include the price of the stone (including cost of carriage to my studio); any sort of shaping that needs to be done to the stone; fixing the stone in place; design work; hand carving the inscription (and any motifs if required). Under usual circumstances 50% of the total cost is required before the stone is ordered and the final 50% to be paid when the stone is in place.
The length of time from meeting a client to having a carving finished and in place varies considerably from job to job and depends on a number of factors. These include size of work; length of and complexity of the inscription; type of stone and its availability; how much work the studio has on at the time.
If the work is of a memorial nature I try to carefully interpret the thoughts of the client so that the end result is a fitting memorial to the deceased and loved one. Making a memorial stone is a sensitive process which I feel should be taken at a gentle pace. I always encourage the client not to rush but to take plenty of time to consider each stage of the process.