Nina Bilbey is Senior Stone Carving Tutor at City & Guilds of London Art School.

Nina has specialised in stone carving for almost 20 years, the highlight of her career being a commission for original carvings of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, for the west front of Canterbury Cathedral – the first statue of the Royal couple together. She has received the prestigious Prince Philip Medal for her achievements in craft and teaching and awarded freedom of the City of London.

“To enter into the discipline of carving is to give yourself over to the organic restrictions of the muscles in your body. Your brain can imagine and create, without restriction, beautiful sculptures, perfectly rendered surfaces and objects clean in line and perfect in sentiment. It can imagine a sculpture so complex it is a wonder to the world, yet in reality the gateway to realising those creations is the muscles in your arms and legs and most of all your eyes and brain. The only possible way to achieve this, is training. You will need to touch the bulk of the stone and the grain in the wood not necessarily with your hands, although that is part of it, but to learn how to manipulate and realise through the use of tools. Hard steel and sharp diamond that in the hands of the professional will make objects sing.”