Iain Cotton

I am a lettering artist, stone carver and sculptor, working near Bath in the South West. I make memorials, house signs, gifts, garden sculptures, and public art to commission, and I make sculpture and inscriptional art works for exhibition. I have been a professional carver since 1990.

I studied sculpture at Bath Academy of Art and went on to an apprenticeship in masonry, carving and stone conservation at Nimbus Conservation, where I worked mostly as assistant to stone carver and sculptor Laurence Tindall. Laurence also ran a little foundry for casting his own work, so I helped with bronze casting too. After Nimbus I continued as a “journeyman” carver, in the field of stone conservation until 2010, working on projects for English Heritage, The National Trust, and many other public and private clients tasked with the care of historic buildings, churches and monuments. I have had the privilege of working alongside very skilled and talented people and I paid attention.

Alongside conservation I developed an interest in carving letters, making my first memorial in 1995.  Although largely self taught I have benefited from courses ran by the Memorial Arts Charity. I have become rooted in the British letter carving tradition, but I am always interested in opportunities to experiment and explore new forms, particularly in three dimensions. I have taught stone carving and lettering courses, and occasionally teach students one to one in the workshop. Since 2010 designing and carving lettering has been my primary focus.

My primary purpose is to design and make things well. I like to combine carving and lettering when appropriate and my masonry experience gives me great versatility in designing and shaping stones. I like things to look simple even when they’re complicated, and I like things to have a “felt” quality. Strength, sensitivity, energy, and poise are qualities I enjoy.

Making a memorial is an opportunity to make something deeply meaningful in the world. It is, perhaps, the most satisfying thing I do.

Contemporary headstones

Classical headstones

Memorial tablets

Heraldry & religion

Public works

Sculpture & architecture

Building plaques

Garden pieces

Gifts & celebratory

Sundry works