Letter Carving Apprenticeship at Fergus Wessel, Stoneletters Studio

We are currently looking to take on a new letter carving apprentice. Positions like this only come up every few years and there are very few available in the country.

This is a very exciting opportunity for anyone who is interested in learning this traditional skill. Ideally, we would like someone who lives locally. We are based near Burford, half way between Oxford and Cheltenham, in a Cotswold Village. You do not need any previous experience, only patience, and dedication. We particularly welcome anyone who will be comfortable in a quiet, workshop environment and it essential that you will be willing to commit to a minimum of four years. For further information please email Fergus in the first instance.

Fergus Wessel, Stoneletters Studio, Spring Cottage, Green Lane, Milton Under Wychwood, Oxon OX7 6JY Tel: 01993 220405


Letter to the Times 6 January 2016






Emyr B. Hughes, Em, died Friday, 22nd August, 2014, a huge man, we miss him and his talent.

Modest, even tempered, generous and honest with wit and humour, Em was a pleasure to work with, a friend and ally.

A sympathetic restorer, able to recognise the nuances of period carving even the subtleties of an individual carver, Em effected repairs that could not be seen.

Conversation flowed covering eclectic interests, tea, beer and wine enjoyed, shop talk never dull, the beauty of carving, techniques, tools, timbers discussed with enthusiasm, hugely knowledgeable about provincial furniture which he liked to collect. Unable to miss a sale Em acquired many pieces, even livestock. He had an unerring ability to put his hand in a box of bric-a-brac and pull out a choice carving tool.

First trained as a teacher, then a carver, Em communicated with ease, always willing to share his understanding.

Em’s carving began with Welsh Love Spoons carved with chains and balls in cages but always with an eye for design and finish.

Hazel wood game sticks also connected Em with his homeland. The staves collected from his valley, farmed by his family for generations, animals exquisitely depicted, ram’s horn ferrules sourced from the family flock.

Changing career, Em was a “mature student” at The City and Guilds. Aware of the sacrifice he was causing his family not a moment was wasted attaining experience and skill at an exemplary rate.

Em has been restoring, copying and creating period style pieces to order for over thirty years, taking on and teaching apprentices, most notably Dafydd his son. Siwan his daughter, a talented painter, has been persuaded to gild.

Lately, Em has been exploring his heritage, carving pieces that comment on his home valley, maintain a dialogue in the Welsh language, enlighten the legends and folk tales he grew up with. Em’s deep knowledge of his valley, the aural tradition he absorbed gives insight to prehistory. Combined with Em’s ability to carve these pieces are extraordinary.

This was to be the continuing project.

Em left no job undone, he was too conscientious, the tragedy is that his work has been cut short with his life at 64. That he was never asked to “Chair the Bard” is a loss to us all and a reversal of the “Bard of the Black Chair'” when the winning Bard was killed before the chair could be awarded, 1917.

Em and Rose have two fabulous children, Siwan and Dafydd. With Gabriel Siwan has four children, Iola, Gwenfair, Idris and Ostyn who carry Em’s genes for the future, Hurrah!

Hugh Wedderburn


The funeral is on Tuesday, 2nd September, 1.30 pm at the Seion Chapel, Llangollen. It’s in town and next to the traffic lights/corner of the main street. There’s a car park behind it.

The crem;is close family only at 3.00pm and the refreshments at 3.45pm at the Abbey Grange Hotel-the road out of Llangollen to the Horseshoe Pass.