Have you ever heard of green slate? After seeing the following beautiful headstones, you will hopefully love it as much as I do. Green slate is such a versatile material, which allows detail in the same way as granite whilst at the same time remaining more natural and weathering gently with time. I always use British materials whenever possible, and green slate from Cumbria is one example.
The 'bull-nose', round edges on this unique headstone invite the hand to touch. The informal letterforms were drawn without using horizontal guide lines giving it a flow which is childlike and sensitive.
This green slate headstone blends in beautifully into its surroundings, yet it remains formal and dignified.
One has complete control over the letterforms when using slate. I often go for quite a timeless letterform like the headstone above that won't look out of place in 20 - 30 years time. It is elegant and works well in an ancient churchyard.
I am always looking for other ways to say 'in loving memory' as it is very much over-used. 'Remember' is positive and instructive, and is seldom used these days. 'Remembered with love' is a good alternative and is quietly gentle.
I would never have been able to draw and carve this section of the Cosworth engine on other material but slate! The harsh lines of the engine are a fitting contrast to the flowing italics on this dignified headstone.
A simple carving of wheat says much about the life of whom the headstone commemorates. A man of the land - a farmer. It is such an ancient symbol. The quote by Philip Larkin 'What will survive of us is love' is personal and yet speaks to everyone. Read more on headstone symbols.
A simple headstone is often best. This inscription on this headstone is formal yet it doesn't shout. It retains a softness that is approachable. Often Cotswold churches don't like the thought of using green slate and would rightly prefer a limestone, preferably local. I would say however that green slate should be the exception. Its warm grey, green colour blends extremely well into the grey, honey coloured landscape.
Green slate will weather well. Because it is never polished but just rubbed smooth, bacteria will settle in time and it will mellow with even greater effect into the landscape. It can be cleaned however, and will never be permanently discoloured by the weathering process.
For many more examples of unique headstones visit my bespoke headstone gallery.
Fergus created Stoneletters Studio in 2003, after training at the Kindersley Workshop. He is a member of the prestigious Master Carver's Association.