David Gillespie – Carver of Slate Tombstones – Pickens, SC
David Gillespie is a stone cutter; he creates period correct tomb and gravestones from slate.
Why slate? David says it is as permanent as granite, is easier to work with and has better detail. And unlike marble it is impervious to acid rain. But I am sure the most important part of all is the way the material responds to the folk artist’s hands using only tools available two hundred years ago.
David Gillespie is standing by his latest work. This stone is loosely based upon the Nathan Basset Stone, the first portrait stone in America. The original is at the Circular Church in Charleston, SC.
David says the basics of carving the slate are similar to wood. And David admits he would rather cut stone than wood. He can cut left or right without worry of the grain changing. But don’t let that statement about wood fool you. David can build a credible Gillespie rifle! And curiously he is not a descendant of the Gillespie rifle building clan.
David and his wife Renee, who is a spinner and artist, attend many events in period costume to demonstrate their skills. Their website has a schedule posted.
Please visit PumpkinTownPrimitives.com to see many samples of this folk artist family’s work.