Slate Work and slate ‘making’ courses

I have always had an interest in rock; the textures, colours ,shapes and  feel of the different types of rock.  In fact I studied geology as part of my degree. As with much I do, the interest has waxed and waned, but has always been present.

As a climber that love of rock took on another more practical dimension.  The physicality of trusting edges, pebbles, cracks and holds is real and absorbing . Rock became ‘friendly’ or otherwise (from the rough finger-bloodying roundness of gritstone, the slightly waxy feel of Carboniferous limestone, to the rough granular security of granite, each type has it’s own subtleties.

North Wales is riddled with old metal mines and of course, the world famous slate belt and my interest took me underground as well, into huge caverns and tight grotty tunnels. Five years ago I started to play around at working with slate and found that I had an affinity to it.  To me each piece has individuality and uniqueness.

As I got better at working with it, people seemed to be interested in what I was making and as I gradually expanded the range and output, so too did the outlets for my work. I carefully select slate (mostly Welsh)  and small amounts of other interesting rock and hand-work these into sculptures, models, pictures, clocks, mirrors, frames, wine-racks and just about anything else physically possible!

Each individual  piece of rock will have it’s own unique characteristics of colour, texture and fracturing, and this is hand worked to accentuate the natural qualities of the rock. All  the items are unique  and only top quality materials are used.

Additional materials are agate, serpentine, ruined marble, tigers eye, abalone shell, dendrite, mother of pearl , wood, metals, glass, felt etc.

The items are finished either untreated or traditionally polished or oiled using linseed oil.  Some are matt, some are gloss.  Very occasionally, items are varnished. An occasional polish will maintain the shop finish

  • Slate:   A fine-grained grey, green or bluish purple rock, easily split into smooth, flat plates, used as roofing material.
  • Slate:  considered to be the lowest grade of metamorphic rock .  It forms when shale is put under pressure with temperatures of a few hundred degrees.
  • Slate:  Welsh slate is of Paleozoic age.  Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian rocks.  They range from  410 to 560 million years old .
  • Slate: a rock of beautiful colours and textures.

Made into unique and attractive  hand-crafted clocks, mirrors, picture-frames and other objects by Dave Stephen at:

Slate making courses

I run slate-making courses as part of Artistiaid yr Iard: link

Please look at the seperate page for slate courses.

Photos From the Course