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Thoughts on lettering on stone

October 5, 2015

I was recently contacted by a guy seeking some initial tuition in learning how to letter-carve. As I was nearby I called in to see him and ran through a few basics. As I was there I realised how important it is to master the following:

  • Proper preparation of the letters – spacing and shape. Need to draw on paper first and then transfer to the surface of the stone.
  • Need to keep stem widths even throughout
  • Attention to terminals
  • Close attention to characteristics of each letterform.
  • Build/make yourself a frame so can cut standing – not hunched over a bench.


Happy to answer questions – and also browse the blog for other entries on letter-carving.


Adrian Frutiger remembered

October 4, 2015

Adrian Frutiger passed this life on 10 September 2015. Read here for an obituary.

I previously wrote about Frutiger here.

In his Signs and Symbols he writes of the value of ‘interior and intermediary space’. Adrian Frutiger and interior spaceDesigners take especial note. ‘The beauty of a sign,’ he writes, ‘is often the result of a struggle between the resistance of the material and its conquest by the instrument…By contrast, the Oriental way of thought and expression…puts the creative act more into the mastery of a gesture with which the brush lays the sign on paper’. [Studio Editions, London, 1989, p.101.)

I did not know of Frutiger’s personal life so as a mental health social worker I find he lost two daughters to suicide prompting him and his partner to establish a foundation

Workshop in Australia – updated with testimonial

August 30, 2015

A wonderful day was experienced last week. Here is one comment:

‘What a wonderful, creative and inspiring day we had at the one day Inner Workshop run by John Pitt out at Mossgrove B&B – a perfect setting for such an occasion.
I would highly recommend this day for anyone interested in learning about sculpture and creative arts…the hands-on approach was great and John bought with him a wealth of talent and knowledge that he loved to share with all of us. I can’t wait for the next one.’

5 October 2015


For those who live in Australia, and more specifically Northern NSW, please note I will be running a one-day workshop The Inner Artist on 1 October 2015.

Limestone and slate sculpture by John Pitt

Limestone and slate sculpture by John Pitt

This workshop – being held at Dorrigo, home of the wonderful Don Dorrigo Gazette, the last newspaper still printed letterpress in Australia, (see here for post about the press) – is not about lettering (though no doubt that will crop up in conversation) but about connecting with your creative self.

I will start with some exercises to loosen your inner self, before moving on to introductory 3D work. The afternoon session will be devoted to carving a piece in soft stone.

If you’d like more information write to me through this page or email The cost is $120.

The workshop is being held at the delightful and peaceful gardens of Mossgrove B&B in North Dorrigo. Morning and afternoon tea provided – BYO lunch for a tranquil picnic in the lovely gardens of Mossgrove.

Something Rampant for the weekend

July 10, 2015

Looking through my collection of typography today I came across these images, included in Portfolio Three by The Rampant Lions Press, Cambridge, England, dated 1982. I have written about Will and Sebastian Carter many times throughout the life of this blog so please hit the search key to find out more, or send me an email. Enjoy your weekend. (This was a regular feature of the blog – the last entry can be found here.)

Franklin typeface

Franklin typeface

Rampant Lions Press prospectus

Rampant Lions Press prospectus


Graham Greene on Eric Gill

June 28, 2015

Graham Greene (1904-1991) was a novelist, critic and Catholic. I read much of his work when I was younger, though not now.

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

I came across this volume The Lost Childhood and other essays (Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1951, 2nd impression) at a bookshop the other week. Pulling it from among its companions I flicked through quickly and was astonished to find an essay Greene had written on Gill. The essay is not dated or sourced (though I guess it may have first appeared in The Tablet as this is one of the periodicals noted in Acknowledgements).

You can read the entire essay (it covers but two and a bit pages) for yourself as I am reproducing it below.

Greene is dismissive of Gill, calling him ‘an artist not of the first rank’ and refers to his ‘fervent little articles on sex’. Greene may have had no idea of Gill’s perversities though he writes: ‘Eric Gill, with his beard and his biretta, his enormous outspokenness, his amorous gusto, trailing his family across the breadth of England with his chickens, cats, dogs, goats, ducks, and geese, belonged only distantly to this untraditional tradition [‘a carefully arranged disregard of conformity to national ways of thought and behaviour’]; he was an intruder – a disturbing intruder among the eccentrics’.

Maybe, after all, Greene had a whiff of the real Gill.

[This is my 401st post.]


Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

One week in street lettering

June 27, 2015

Images from my week. These were taken in Brisbane, Australia. The first at a train station – a nice display of cast letters (heavily covered in paint – be great to see that taken away and the true letters revealed once more) representing Queensland Rail and used as a brace for a seat; the second a metal plate in the road covering services – lovely use of the cross bar in the capital A as a functional element for inserting the rod that will remove the cover for inspection; the third some quirky figures (‘biffo man’) at pedestrian crossing. Great to see such inventiveness.

Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.

Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.

Metal services covering plate spelling GAS


Biffo man/men

Biffo man/men

Michael Snape and cut lettering into metal

June 21, 2015

In Brisbane, Australia, last weekend. Having parked the car in an underground park on the South Bank (this information strictly for those who know Brisbane – a wonderful city with a thriving arts culture – so definitely worth a visit when you are over this way [this is not a paid for advert by the way] ) I notice this sculpture. Michael Snape sculpture

I am drawn, of course, by the lettering cut into  the surface I assume by a welding torch. The piece is tucked away in this location and really does need to breathe in the open air – this would also assist with trying to read the inscription, which, as you can see, is long.

Snape sculpture A23

I made out the words printing press. Thank you Mr Snape. But no thanks to the municipal authorities or whoever for, having presumably commissioned such a piece, gave it the insult of this subterranean setting. For more on Michael Snape click Michael Snape


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