Harewood Primary School Stone Sculpting Project

If you are thinking of a stone sculpting project that can involve young children, then it doesn't come any better than organising a group of children to create a large stone sculpture collectively over a period of time. The idea to do this was first presented to me in November 2011. I was asked to work with the children from Room 7 at Harewood Primary School to create a feature garden sculpture that reflected the children and their relationship with the school.

Miss France approached me, to see if it was possible to run a project like this. Earlier that year she had attended my advanced stone carving night classes at Papanui High School and could see the benefit that it could have on the children in her own class.

She explained that they had all helped to raise money and it is going to be a very special project that they are all looking forward to be part of. I loved the idea, it was something different to my stone carving workshops that I had done with small groups in the past. We discussed the details about the project and then I was introduced to the children to talk about the designs that they had sketched and what they envisioned for the school. 

I spent an afternoon teaching them how to go about creating a design for a sculpture. They learnt about weakness in the stone and where to have the best weight distribution as well as creating a sculpture from a solid base. I was also able to share with them some of my other art works, talk to them about what inspires me and my profession as a sculptor.

Within a few days the final design was drawn and the stone was ordered and delivered to the school ready for carving. The children learnt about the safety aspects of stone sculpting from working with the tools to knowing that they needed to wear the safety goggles at all times through the carving process. Working in groups of two to three children at a time, they then started to cut away excess stone as they worked into the design. Some of them had never used saws or chisels before, so it was exciting for them to try it for the first time.

Most of the time they worked on the sculpture for one or two afternoons a week. It didn't take long for the sculpture to take shape and before long it was the buzz of the school.

Frequently teachers from other classrooms would bring their students to come see how progress was going. After some time, the children from room 7 took to answering all of the questions themselves , and how they managed to carve and shape it. They talked about the meaning of the three Korus. The largest one being the guardian or parent, The second koru representing the teacher and the small koru at the front represents all of the children who attend Harewood School. They also acknowledged the koru design as being symbolic to the Maori and how it has become part of New Zealand culture.

Towards the end of the project they were extremely proud of what they had achieved and were pleased that they had learnt new skills in the art of stone sculpting.

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If you are interested in organizing a stone sculpting project with your school, please fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Some other stone carving art activities for children

Stone carving workshops - These are based on Children and or adults working on their own individual carving projects. The carvings are small and take from forty minutes to about two hours to complete, depending on the level of difficulty or the carving subject. The lessons on offer for children starts with a simple Koru and then they advance to carving a owl, fish, elephant, and candle holders. Click here for more info 

Online lessons - Unable to book a stone carving workshop but you would like to learn how to carve stone? You can by purchasing my online lessons. Click here for more info.

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Wooden Mallet

I recommend using a wooden mallet for carving Oamaru stone.

Chisel Set

Woodworking chisels are perfectly fine for carving with Oamaru stone. 

Masonary Sealer 

This is the best sealer that I could find on Amazon that I would consider to be suitible for Oamaru Stone 

Course Sandpaper

Ryobi Engraver

Fine Sandpaper


Scissor Lift Trolly

Mobile Tool Box

Shaugns Recommended Stone Carving Tools

Although the tools below are sold through Amazon. They are the same as the stone carving tools that I personally recommend to my students for carving with Oamaru stone.

Poratable Workbench

These benches are height adjustable which makes them perfect for stone carving. I own the Ryobi workbench and love it, but unfortunatlly it is only sold through Amazon's UK store for people that are wanting to buy it online.

Stanley: Surform Shaver

This is a must-have tool for shaping large areas of Oamaru stone

Riffler Files

These are smaller files that are designed for the parts of your sculpture that are difficult to get at. They are also an essential set of tools

Builders Pencils

Crosscut Hand Saw

This type of crosscut  hand saw is my recommendation for cutting Oamaru stone

Keyhole Handsaw

A very handy saw. Mosty used for sawing after a hole after it has been drilled into the stone.