I have worked with stone for 30 years in many different ways; from drystone dyking to restoration carving for Westminster Abbey and Wells Cathedral. I have built stone houses and barns and have carved figurative and abstract sculptures.

I carved my first gravestone in 1986 for the three year old daughter of a close friend. In 1987 my wife died of breast cancer. I made a sculpture to commemorate her life and I also carved her gravestone. From these experiences I realized how important a gravestone could be; as a way of honouring a life and as a marker in the process of grieving and letting go. My intention when making a gravestone is to be with my clients in such a way that together we create a fitting memorial for their loved one.

I have been involved with Memorials By Artists since 1993. They work as a commissioning agency, putting people in touch with artist lettercutters. Between 1999 and 2001 a group of Scottish lettercutters met through workshops run by Memorials By Artists. From these meetings we formed the Scottish Lettercutters Association of which I am the Chair. The SLA holds group exhibitions and is also involved in promoting traditional lettercutting skills and educational programmes.

My work as an artist using lettercutting when involved with private commissions or public art is to celebrate as best I can the love of stone, the love of words, and the place of the work. I derive enormous pleasure from the process of creation and expression of these pieces.

Ian Newton