piece created by a student at a previous stone carving class at Blackstone River Theatre. Photo Credit: Blackstone River Theatre

As part of their Heritage Arts Studio initiative, Blackstone River Theatre will offer a two-day class in Celtic relief stone carving in limestone for beginners with instructor Laura Travis, outside, behind the Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St., Cumberland, RI.

The two-day class will be held on Saturday, October 8, and Sunday, October 9, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day (with a half-hour lunch break.) Adults, college students and teenagers (16 and up) are all welcome and no experience is required. A maximum of 10 students will be allowed. The course fee is $125 plus a separate $15 materials fee which is payable directly to instructor Laura Travis (includes several pieces of stone, sandpapers, and access to finishing tools.) For class reservation, call (401) 725-9272. For additional information, visit the instructor’s site, lauratraviscarving.com

Relief carving is a satisfying and useful skill which has numerous applications for gardens, landscaping, and creative expression. The saga of The Celt and The Stone is as old as time. If you have seen a photo of the High Crosses in Ireland and Scotland, or British well-shrine covers, you’ve seen Celtic relief carving in stone. In this 12-hour introductory-level course, students will use manageable scraps of limestone and carve them with an initial, a knot, or an animal motif – bring your own idea or utilize teacher references – and in the process learn something of one of the signature arts of the Celts. Included will be plenty of stone lore, tips for scrounging up materials and tools for practically nothing, and information about techniques including polishing and finishing.

Laura Travis has been carving for almost 30 years, bringing her knowledge and love of Irish and Celtic traditions firmly into her work in stone. As an artist, Laura walks between the worlds of fine and folk art, utilizing traditional iconography in some very contemporary contexts. Travis holds an MFA in sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and maintains a studio in Rhode Island.