Athar Jaber

Stone Talk

by Athar Jaber | 5 November 2023


Among the many questions that I regularly receive, some occur more often than others. So I decided to dedicate this issue of Stone Talk to one of the most popular questions I get.

“I’m considering getting into letter carving in stone, and I’m wondering where I would be able to get stones that are suitable for practice to learn on. I obviously don’t want to be buying $200 pieces, but I’m having a hard time finding sources for cheap stone to learn and practice. Do you know of any sources online or types of local shops that might have this sort of thing?”

Finding affordable stones for letter carving practice can be a bit challenging, but there are several potential sources you can explore:

  1. Local Stone Yards or Suppliers:
    Check with local stone yards or suppliers that cater to builders and landscapers. They may have cutoffs or remnants that are more affordable for practice purposes.

  2. Landscaping Supply Stores:
    Stores that sell landscaping materials may have smaller stones or cutoffs that they sell at a lower price. They might not be perfect for larger projects but could be suitable for practice.

  3. Art Supply Stores:
    Some art supply stores carry small pieces of stone suitable for carving. While they may be more expensive than other options, they could still be affordable for practice purposes.

  4. Online Marketplaces:
    Check online marketplaces or even local classified ads for people selling small stone pieces. Be sure to inquire about the type of stone and its suitability for carving.

  5. Local Masonry or Sculpture Studios:
    Contact local masonry or sculpture studios. They may have advice on where to find affordable stone for practice, or they might sell small pieces themselves.

  6. Community Colleges or Art Schools:
    Contact local community colleges or art schools. They may have surplus stone from sculpture classes that they could sell or provide for practice.

  7. Construction Sites:
    Some construction sites may have leftover stone pieces that they would be willing to part with. Always ask for permission before taking anything from a construction site.

  8. Natural Stone Quarries:
    In some cases, you may be able to find affordable stone directly from natural stone quarries. Contact local quarries and inquire if they have smaller pieces or cutoffs available.

When looking for stone, consider the type of stone you want to carve as different stones have different characteristics. Limestone is often recommended for beginners due to their softer nature.

Remember to start small and gradually progress to larger or more expensive stones as your skills improve. Happy carving!



Do you have specific question around sculpture and stone carving? Submit your question here below and I’ll do my best to answer it in one of the next Stone Talk Newsletters.

I hope you enjoyed these points and that you learned something new.

Until next week,


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On Sundays, at irregular intervals, I send out Stone Talk, a newsletter where you’ll find tips and recommendations on things I believe are worth watching, listening, reading, visiting or exploring. All related to (stone) sculpture and stone carving.

The newsletter is also a great way to stay updated with my artistic activities such as exhibitions, new works, limited editions, publications, as well as my educational activities such as  courses, workshops, lectures, tutorials and much more.

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Athar Jaber