Simon Langsdale

I have had a lifelong interest in the arts, cultural heritage and crafts but it wasn’t until 2006-07 when I completed a full-time course at Roehampton University gaining a Certificate of Higher Education in Calligraphy that I seriously considered a career in these areas.

From 2007-08, I had an informal apprenticeship with the letter carver Tom Perkins learning how to draw letters and cut them in stone. Following this, I gained a BA with First Class Honours in History from the University of Hertfordshire. At the same time, I continued developing my skills as a letter carver, visiting other craftsmen’s workshops and gaining my first commissions. From 2011, I set up my own business as a self-employed letter carver.

From 2011-2015 I also began work on cataloguing the archive of the craftsman Michael Renton for the Edward Johnston Foundation and I also became the librarian and archivist for the Society of Scribes and Illuminators. In the summer of 2015 I co-curated an exhibition of Michael Renton’s work and jointly edited an accompanying book on his life and work, His Hands Magic: Michael Renton 1934-2001. I teach calligraphy and letter carving and I regularly give talks on the history of lettering as well as participating in lettering exhibitions.

Recently I have re-carved and added new names to several war memorials and I am currently working on commissions, mostly for memorial stones.  I am studying for an MA in History at the University of Hertfordshire and I also assess apprentices working in the cultural heritage sector.

In October 2017, I was fortunate to become a fellow of Digswell Arts Trust and now have a studio at The Forge in Digswell. I am planning on using this experience to further explore and develop ideas and themes that I have been wanting to try for some time in my own work.


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