This section of the website has been designed to take you, the client, through the various stages of a typical commission, from our initial meeting at my workshop to the finished installed piece.
You can scroll down this page to explore the different stages within the commissioning process by clicking on the green bars.
The best way to start the process is to have an initial meeting at my workshop. This is not always possible and I have undertaken many commissions purely through email, but meeting in person can save time and help us to get our thoughts across clearly. This is a chance for me to get a feel for exactly what your requirements and expectations are for the commission. I will show you my portfolio and stone samples - I have some virtual stone samples on my flickr pages. We can then discuss your preferences and generally have an exchange of ideas. In many ways this stage is the most important as it can clarify the way forward. We may or may not have agreed on the wording and content of the commission by the end of this meeting. Sometimes you may feel it is necessary to go away and contemplate things in order to cement your ideas before giving me a rough outline of what you want. We may talk about approximate costs, but I will go away and give a more detailed costing when I know all I need to know.
The second stage is often an exchange of emails and sketches, mostly done by email these days, and I will perhaps make an initial design and rough outline cost for the whole commission.
When we are clear about the contents and style of the design I will make a design and provide an estimate. If you are happy with these then we can move on to making an "agreement" which is the next stage. The overall cost will depend on the following factors; material type and size, the shape of the stone, the amount of lettering and other carving, also installation costs and cemetery/churchyard fees. As a very rough guide, very simple memorials normally cost between £2-3000, most stones will cost between £4000-£6000, and obviously more elaborate designs or stones with a lot of lettering and carving will cost more. I can give you an accurate price when I know exactly what is required within the design.
I will first submit my proposals, paperwork and scale drawings for permission and approval to any relevant authorities if necessary - for example vicars/registrars for a memorial, architects and local authorities etc. Once we have permission to proceed then I will draw up a Commission Agreement for us to sign which states the proposed design and cost. At this stage I will ask for a deposit payment of 50% of the total cost. In other words your order is placed. I will order stone upon receiving the deposit. The date of signing this agreement and my workload will determine when the work will commence, a normal timescale is around 8 months from signing the agreement to installing the finished stone. Often smaller commissions take less time and can be fitted in if there is a tight deadline such as an anniversary or unveiling ceremony for example. I will always try to accommodate a reasonable timescale, but less than 6 months is unlikely. A good craftsman is a busy craftsman and the important thing for me is not to rush things but get it right for my clients. This takes time, and I am a perfectionist!
I like to update my clients with pictures of work in progress and updates via email. There's no charge for this.
I will make every attempt to ensure work is completed within the agreed timescale.
I will install the work myself. It is an opportunity for us to meet again, for me to see the work in place, and a nice chance for me to get out of the workshop too. When the work is installed and the commission completed I will send out an invoice for the final payment.
I am a registered NAMM fixer for installing memorial work
Below are a few comments from previous clients.
"Thank you so much for the beautiful headstone that you made for my mother. I am so thrilled with it, the stone has a beautiful balance between the fantastic natural material and the quite contemporary but totally fitting design. It looked wonderful in situation." Louisa, London.
"We had a work day at the wood this weekend, despite the snow and we had some wonderful comments about the seats you made. People really enjoy them and use them to shelter out of the wind. Thank you! " Belle, Norwich.
"Once again thank you for producing such a beautiful memorial stone – it is the final and perfect touch which certainly aids in the ‘process’" Wynne, Inverness. "It is tremendous, this work of art will intrigue and inspire so many onlookers who will no doubt say "this man must have been somebody very special" Annie, Inverness.
"As you know we love the stone and the response from all is overwhelming. The common response from the boy's friends is that it is AWESOME which as you probably know is as high an accolade as one can get!" Stephanie, Suffolk.
"My friend Joanna has sent me the sketch of the headstone you are doing for her. It is perfect and beautiful. You serve a curious, vital role in your client's process of grieving. Your compassion is manifested in your work. I'm grateful that Joanna found such a artist to collaborate with." Patricia, Suffolk.
"Thank you so much for the care and attention you have given to Dante's pebble. You have done a wonderful job of smoothing the slate to a beautiful and natural shape which is hugely satisfying to stroke. The carving is delightful and evokes many happy memories. We had very high expectations as we have seen that you are a talented artist. You managed to surpass these expectations and for this we are very appreciative." Lorraine & Marcus, Norfolk.
"Very many thanks for the beautiful stone - we're very happy with it. You interpreted our ideas brilliantly and the finished stone is a special memorial to Max. I'm sure he would like it too. The material itself is also lovely and the way that you've polished the stone makes it something to touch as well as look at. My parents - and especially my father who also had bikes - were very pleased with it too. The whole process of designing and commissioning the stone, coming to visit you and choosing it and seeing you last week having just set it have been important in our coming to terms with Max's death and also being able to do something to remember him. We particularly wanted a special stone for Lily to visit as she grows up. We'll be celebrating the stone's completion - and of course remembering Max - with friends and family some time over the next couple of months." Jessica, London.
"Just to say that I went to Northampton this weekend to stay with my mother-in-law and took some photos luckily my brother-in-law was there as well, they all really liked the headstone which was a relief! Sons also very impressed and I love it too, so altogether it is a great success. David was always very keen to encourage young people who set up in business on their own and he would have really admired you, thank you for helping me through what could have been an unpleasant experience." Caroline, Norfolk
"Thank you so much. Matty's headstone is perfect!!! We had a family get-together at the church on Sunday and we were all quite overcome by it and felt that the design was just right. My niece Tersha loved the lettering and the shape. The colour of the stone blends beautifully with the surroundings. It is a truly lovely memorial for Matty. Thank you" Annette, Lincolnshire
"The stone was commissioned from local stone carver Teucer Wilson, as part of an ongoing commitment by us to place public art at each of the sites where we build new homes, to create a focus for this new community – a kind of village sign for the modern age. We wanted to recognize the history of this site, to give it a sense of place. We’re delighted that George, whose family farmed this land for so many years, can be with us to unveil this splendid stone." Abel Homes
"My name is Mrs Murray, I am one of the great great grandchildren of John Fielding. I wanted to contact you to let you know how beautiful the work you did on the John Fielding memorial is. It really is moving to see him and other soldiers like him commemorated in such a poetic way. I currently live in Canada and since the memorial has been in place I have not had the chance to see it in person, but will be making the trip when I am next in Wales. Thank you for all your hard work." Mrs Murray, Canada
- How long have you been doing this?
- I trained at Weymouth college from 1993-1995, then worked at Richard Kindersley's Studio for the next 5 years and set up my own workshop in 2000. So I've been carving stone since 1993, working as a stone carver and letter-cutter since 1995.
- How long does the whole commissioning process take?
- My normal timescale is anywhere from 12 weeks to a year depending on my current workload. If you have a significant deadline I will always try and work to it where possible. Most commissions are completed well within a year.
- How much does a headstone cost?
- A simple stone may cost as little as £1500. The more elaborate the stone the more it will cost. Some materials cost more than others too. I can give you a preliminary cost after our initial meeting, or perhaps if you need just to get an idea before arranging a meeting due to distances you can email me an outline of what you want and I can try and give you a guide price. Simple memorials normally cost somewhere between £2000-£3000 as a rough guide, more elaborate stones will cost more.
- Do you make polished granite memorials?
- Polished granite is not a material many fine carvers enjoy working with, and I much prefer working with limestone, sandstone or slate. If you're worried about weathering then any of these stones will last hundreds of years and softer limestones like Portland stone or Cotswold stone will be fine. The approach when using softer stones should be to carve the lettering very deeply and not too small so that it will last and have enough shadow in the incision to be legible.
- Do you install your artworks yourself?
- I always deliver and install the work myself, mainly for two reasons; to ensure it is correctly sited and not damaged in transit, and to be able to see where it has ended up and photograph the finished piece. It is nice for me to feel involved throughout the whole process.
- Why does it sometimes take up to a year to commission work from you?
- Most good craftsmen and women making quality work will tell you they're busy. There is still a demand for top quality, thoughtfully designed and hand-made products. To make work by hand to the best of your ability takes time.
- Aren't there machines that can cut lettering in stone?
- There are machines that cut stone by laser, router and by sandblasting, but the result is not the same as a hand-cut letter. For me these are different approaches that should not be compared as like for like. Many modern memorials are made to set patterns, are sandblasted or routered, and the overall design tends to be a more limited uncreative process, more industrial and less personal. This is not wrong but just different. The machinist is doing his job, I am doing mine. I enjoy the opportunity to design and draw freehand and to make an inscription work within a design, rather than make a design limited by manufacturing processes. This is not to say a that memorial cannot in theory be well designed and then made by machine.
- What happens if you get near the end of a job and a lump falls off?
- It doesn't really happen, you tend to know if you've got a bad piece of stone before you start carving it. If you hit a stone hard with a heavy hammer it should ring like a bell - if not don't use it.
- Is Teucer your real name and if so where does it come from?
- I'm afraid it is my real name! Teucer was a character in Greek mythology mentioned in the Iliad.
- Do you ever make a spelling mistake?
- I have never made a smelling mistake.