About Andrew Whittle
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"I am fortunate in having a delightful workshop in Nettlecombe, West Dorset where I make inscriptions for all purposes from gravestones to architectural and Public Art.
Nowadays I am equally happy to use a computer to draw with, as if a pencil or indeed a water jet, as if a chisel. "
I was born and grew up during the 60’s in Weymouth to a family of greengrocers and florists. After school - Hardye’s in Dorchester - I went to Bournemouth to take a Foundation Course and then to Canterbury for a degree course in Sculpture.
Casting around for work I was briefly apprenticed as a ‘carver and lettercutter’ on Portland, this was my introduction to lettering in stone, making war graves. In my late twenties I returned to carving stone, having worked as a silversmith, and attended a course in Architectural Stone Masonry at South Dorset Technical College. In my second year whilst working as a trade lettercutter I was delighted to discover fine or ‘craft’ lettering through the work of David Kindersley.
Kindersley worked within the predominantly British tradition of fine lettering in stone and I now see myself as part of that movement, whilst extending and re-inventing it for a contemporary audience. Central to this is a thorough knowledge of the materials, stone, wood, metal and the tools used in fashioning them as well as an extensive knowledge of historical letter forms and the tools which gave them their specific characteristics. Nowadays I am equally happy to use a computer to draw with, as if a pencil or indeed a water jet, as if a chisel.
I am fortunate in having a delightful workshop in Nettlecombe, West Dorset where I make inscriptions for all purposes from gravestones to architectural and Public Art. I have collaborated with other artists and poets, notably Ian Hamilton Finlay with whom I worked from 1991 until his death in 2006. I made many pieces with Ian and there are permanent examples at MOMA ,Edinburgh the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, La Isla de Esculturas, Pontevedra Spain, Les Ginestieres a private garden in Provence as well as Ian’s garden ‘Little Sparta’ in Scotland.
I have taught many students the intricacies of form and spacing as well as the practical aspects of the craft. I started and ran the Lettering course at Weymouth College for 13 years, my teaching in Scotland resulted in the formation of the Scottish Lettercutters Association. I have also taught in London, Belgium and at my workshops in Dorset.