Each stone is carved with careful attention to detail the same way it has been carved for thousands of years, all with Chisel and Mallet. Each letter is lettered by Hand, no computers, stencils or templates. Hand Carved stones reach a level of crispness and clarity that modern techniques have a hard time achieving.
Quite simply, because it lasts. Cemeteries are full of Marble stones from the 1860s that are unreadable with huge letters but when you see slates from the 1760s whose letters are shallower, thinner and as crisp as the day they were carved, I think you will agree.
David Gillespie was trained person to person with only traditional methods and techniques. David has been carving slate gravestones since 2003. He has had commissions as far North as Connecticut and as far South as Edisto Island South Carolina. He has been commissioned for stones to go into Historic, Private and Modern Cemeteries. He has been commissioned for works in Municipalities, The Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, and Drayton Hall Plantation, Charleston SC.
David has been selected as one of America's Best Craftsmen, & Listed in Early American Life Magazine, in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts, where the judges are Museum Curators, and Historic Material Culture Professionals from all across the US.
David has had commissions as far North as Connecticut and as far South as Edisto Island South Carolina. He has been commissioned for stones to go into Historic, Private and Modern Cemeteries. He has been commissioned for works in Municipalities, The Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC, and Drayton Hall Plantation, Charleston SC.
David uses only the best slate which is monument grade and listed as unfading. Colors for monuments can be Blue Black, Green or Purple. in North America. Predominately he uses Buckingham Slate, from Virginia. It is a true Unfading slate that has been quarried since the late 1700's and even Thomas Jefferson Used it for his building projects. Buckingham Slate is used on Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. and The Smithsonian Castle.
One of the first Americans to recognize the value and architectural beauty of slate in the United States was that master architect Thomas Jefferson. Geologist W. Rogers reported to Virginia Legislature that, "In texture, density and capacity of resisting atmospheric agents, it can scarcely be excelled by a similar material in any part of the world." He further recorded the use of Buckingham® Slate (still serviceable today) on the University of Virginia, specified by Thomas Jefferson for roof covering.
Please Click the Link Below to See my process and more of your questions can be answered about how to commission your own Stone that should last for hundreds of years.
David's book "A Brief Treatise on Tomb and Grave Stones of the 18th Century" is perfect as a "design catalog" for you to gain many ideas for your own stone project. $19.99 and click below to buy it now or to see more details.
Check out this great video!
A Native of South Carolina, David has been carving slate gravestones since 2001. He and his wife Renee also set up at Reenactments and are period Sutlers selling wares of the 18th Century. David is also a Portrait Miniature Artist.
Renee Gillespie is a Native of Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelors of Arts from Washington College of Chestertown, MD. She is an accomplished Indigo Dyer and Paper Marbler as well.
Is David's Father and our Bowl maker expert. He makes all manner of wooden Treenware such as Bowls, Bread boards, Rolling pins and Trenchers.