Members’ Masterclass: Stone as a Material
Tuesday 12 May 2015 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Institute of Making
In this masterclass you will learn about the properties of different marbles, hard stones and gemstones, the historical development of pietre dure work, as well as the different materials and techniques for stone carving and cutting in Europe and India. Expert practitioners Thomas Greenaway and Nicholas Yiannarakis will demonstrate and participants are invited to get hands-on in the process of creating a pietre dure panel from the design process, selecting stones, cutting with the bow saw, filling, fitting and polishing; sawing with diamond saws; grinding and cabochon cutting with diamond wheels; and faceting.
Led by Professor Dr. Sven Dupré, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science & Freie Universität Berlin and the Scholar in Residence for Robert H. Smith Renaissance Sculpture in Context. This ‘Masterclass: Stone as a Material’ session is part of ‘The Science of Stones and the Plastic Arts’ course arranged by the Robert H. Smith Scholar in Residence for the V&A/RCA History of Design Postgraduate Programme.
Having trained in fine furniture at the Chippendale School of Furniture just outside Edinburgh Thomas Greenaway became particularly interested in wood marquetry. Following this one year course he travelled around Italy and fell upon Florentine Pietre Dure work. This sparked a huge interest and after his experience with wood marquetry he became fascinated by this stone marquetry work. Having visited the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and being inspired by the stunning mosaics there, he subsequently went on to discover workshops in Florence still practicing this ancient art form using the same traditional techniques they used in the sixteenth century. He was then fortunate enough to gain experience and work for various different artisans and old masters in this field for the next four years. When he returned from Florence in 2010 he set up his own workshop specialising in Florentine mosaics and he now makes everything from a paperweight to tabletops and carries out conservation work. His latest works have included a floor plaque inscription (commemorating Pope Benedictus XVI visit in 2010) for the entrance of Westminster Cathedral. This required inlaying red and green Egyptian Porphyry lettering into Carrara marble. Recently he has just completed the coat of arms for Richard III's tombstone in Leicester Cathedral.
Nicholas Yiannarakis followed a traditional jewellery apprenticeship in Athens with a somewhat more cosmopolitan stint at Metropolitan University and St Martin’s continuing his studies in jewellery design. He then took a postgraduate degree in education at Goldsmiths' University. Nicholas’ approach to jewellery design is inspired by his aim to express the “classical ideal”. His work is the product of a rigorous simplification in his search for the “essential” - the basic form, that reveals the key idea. His interest in the optical and plastic properties of gemstones, lead to experimentation with cuts that push the boundaries of traditional gem cutting and carving. It is rare for a jeweller to have both stonecutting and metalwork skills but it ensures that the shape and colour of the stones sits perfectly with the geometry of the metal. For the last five years Nicholas has been involved with the development of vocational and academic courses on jewellery design and making at Holts Academy, with an emphasis on maintaining traditional techniques and small scale manufacturing methods. Over the years Nicholas has shown his work in all the major London Galleries and he is a regular exhibitor at the Goldsmiths' annual fair.