The Stonecarved Project


A solo exhibition of new work by stonecarver and lettercutter Thomas Appleton.

1 August – 27 September 2015. On-line and at Aspex, Portsmouth

It’s been 18 months in the making and the show is now live.


Stonecarved is a project  about truth, status, memory and identity.

The UK has a unique geology which over millennia has shaped how we live. Today use the phrase ‘set in stone’ to mark an irreversible statement of truth – carved inscriptions cannot be unmade or edited. Lettercarving is elite. The process and ability to have a message, memory or memorial carved in stone is expensive, limiting who is allowed this most permanent truth of status and identity. Today, contemporary identities created online are fluid, editable, enabling constant re-definition. Social media creates a space for a more democratic expression of status. Living memorials created for social memory.

This project explores these contrasts between old and new forms of communicating identity, renegotiating the role of stone in British cultural heritage, challenging the conflation of prestige with permanence. Over 18 months, these themes will be explored and investigated to produce new work in stone for a two-month solo show and programme of on-line activity launching in August 2015. You can see images from the show here.

This website shares the investigation of these project themes. Have a look around and feel free to drop me a line if you would like to know more. As the project develops you can get involved and contribute what words you would like to see set in stone. Alternatively, you can use the form below to sign up for project updates as the work takes shape.

 project themes

1 Our understanding of stone and why stone is culturally important

Visiting a selected range of British quarries, learning from some of the remaining firms about the stone they produce and how they stay viable and compete against imported cheap material as well as learning from other professionals with a passion working with stone.

2 How lettercarving and public lettering is relevant

Exploring the belief of what is set in stone as a true, factual social statement of identity and status.

3 Contemporary expressions of identity and status

Learning from practitioners, academics, makers, artists and crafts people whose work shares the themes of identity and social memory.

4 What should be set in stone?

Crowd-sourcing uncensored content from gallery and on-line audiences to learn what words they would chose to have commemorated in stone.