Luke Batchelor – letter carver

6th July 2015  |  ALUMNI | AWARD WINNERS

Luke Batchelor being presented with his awardWinner of the 2015 HCA/NADFAS Heritage Crafts Bursary

With a background in stone conservation, Luke is currently completing a placement to learn letter carving at the Colin Braid Stone Workshop.

Luke plans to use this Bursary to continue to train via a placement with Ian Newton, purchase his own tools and travel to Italy to work with Carrara marble and study ancient lettering.

He says “receiving this grant would be a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and gain further experience, pursue my passion and give me the confidence to establish a career in letter carving”.


I received my Bursary Award to train in letter cutting and stone carving in 2015 and I used it to train with memorial artist within the UK as well as travelling and training in Italy for 4 months, spending my time between travelling the country studying ancient roman letters forms, training with carvers and renting my own space alongside artist, to do my own work.

From both experiences I learnt many skills, from how to work with a client commissioning a memorial, to designing, carving different stones, erecting memorials, moving heavy stones, safely using large power tools, the importance of good time management and organization skills, the list goes on… Due to the freedom the award gives you I would say it is important to have a clear idea each day of what your goals are and what you want to achieve, making sure you make the most out of it.   

Stepping out of my comfort zone, to solo travel in a country I couldn’t at first speak a word of the language was difficult but helped me grow as a person and the country and people inspired me in many ways.  I met many kind and generous people and witnessed an incredible creative industry whilst living in Pietrasanta and hope to return in the future.

Using the Award Bursary was an amazing life changing experience and I wouldn’t have changed it, knowing how much I learnt and how the experience will shape my work in the future.

With the luxury of be able to looking back in hindsight after a couple of years I would advise future winners to spend as long as possible meeting craftsmen/women within the country they live, ideally spending a week or longer training with somebody and touring different regions.

Training with, and, building connections with local crafts people is really important as you need people to know you exist and what you can do.  If somebody is too busy they may share work with you, asking you to come and stay with them and be able to offer you help and advice when you need it.

After returning I have been working in stone conservation for a private company as well as carrying out stone carving projects and am planning on setting up my own workshop to create memorials in the future. 


Photo: Luke Batchelor being presented with his certificate by Susan Zuill and Jill Makepeace-Warne from NADFAS