About Me

letter and stone carving
letter and stone carving

Hi, I am Maya Martin

…a stonemason in Hampshire, specialising in letter carving and stone carving, hand carved the traditional way in my workshop in Hampshire.

As a child I would spend many an hour playing in the church yard near my childhood home, I remember finding it fascinating reading the words on the headstones and would imagine who that person was and the life they led. Sometimes we would do wax rubbings of the inscriptions. I also have vivid memories of looking upwards while walking with my family through the streets of London fascinated by the grand buildings and the intricate carvings.  I would imagine the masons working hard centuries ago and was in awe of their opportunity to create things that were so grand and beautiful.

It’s the indelible nature of stone that stands out to me from other materials to work with. I find it alluring that people from as far back as the beginning of mankind were carving stone as decoration and as a way to communicate to the world and each other, and we are still doing it today.

It feels solid and permanent and you carve it with the knowledge that it will be there for a very long time.  It will outlive everyone alive today and can be appreciated by future generations. This makes it feel important to make every piece extra special.

My passion for carving stone was first realised in 2005 while travelling in India, in a small town called Mamalapuram. I arrived in the town exhausted and sweaty after a long overcrowded bus trip in the South Indian heat. The town felt alive with the tap tap tap of stone being carved, it was a hive of activity.  Everywhere I looked there were stone carvings, some centuries old, some modern, many carved into the rocks around the town, and there was a beautifully carved ancient temple on the rocks by the sea. My tiredness had vanished and my fascination grew with all that was going on around me and watching the craftsmen at work. A shop keeper, Rajan, invited me to have a go, to learn how to carve, I was delighted. I ended up spending a week at his shop and I carved a small gecko. Choosing the piece of stone, sharpening the chisel, the first cut into the stone… all that is still so vivid in my memory. Then hours were spent shaping and reshaping and trying to get it right, and eventually I was happy, it was looking good. Then sanding and polishing and then, wow, it was looking great. I was feeling very pleased with my achievement. and eager to do more.

Since returning from India in 2005 I have striven to get as much experience and knowledge in the stone world as I could. In 2010 I realised the best way forward was to train properly, so I enrolled to study Stonemasonry at Weymouth College. I was in my element there, being able to spend all day every day carving stone and I knew this was what I was meant to be doing. I qualified with a distinction in diploma level 3.

After a few years of working with sculptor Simon Keeley, at his Berkshire workshop and gaining invaluable three dimensional carving experience working on some of his prestigious commissions, I began working for renowned lettering artist Robyn Golden-Hann here in Hampshire where I developed a deeper passion for letters and a thorough understanding of the letterforms.

I spent 8 years working closely with Robyn and learning all aspects of her thriving Bespoke Memorials business. I had the opportunity to work on some beautiful memorials and some awe inspiring relief carvings.

The Lettering Arts Trust gave me a grant in 2018 to spend time away from everyday work and get a broader experience studying and practicing different lettering style and to really hone my skills. Inspiration for my lettering comes from practicing calligraphy, using the shapes made by the pen or brush to design and draw the letters on the stone. Compared to computer generated letters, hand drawn and carved letters have a greater sense of life and energy in them, they become more personal to that carving and more attractive. 

After learning all I could from Robyn, I had a desire to develop my own style further and find my own way in the world of stone carving and lettering and so I opened my own little workshop in the North Hampshire countryside, where I spend many hours creating all sorts of wonders.

When I’m not in the workshop I find myself travelling, in the summer for stone carving festivals and competitions around the UK and Europe, and in the winter myself and fellow stone masons may find ourselves travelling across the globe to compete in Snow sculpting competitions representing Great Britain. These have been an amazing experience in terms of working on a large-scale carvings (3x3x4metes) team-work, meeting people from other nations and of course the extremely cold weather.  The principle is very similar to carving stone but much colder and of course it melts away as soon as spring comes.

letter and stone carving

Headstones, Commemorative and Cremation Plaques

Creating a memorial is a way to honor the life of someone we loved. By making something beautiful you can express to the world the respect and admiration you have for those who had been part of your life.

letter and stone carving

Boulders, Gravemarkers
and Plaques

A pet can be such an important part of our life and grieving for the loss of a pet can be a difficult experience. You might feel like you want to celebrate your pet’s life and focus on the happy memories. 

letter and stone carving

House Signs, Business Signs
and more

The first thing that someone will look for and see when visiting your home or business will be the house name or number.
It is something that can say much about who you.

letter and stone carving

Sculpture, Sundials, Bird Baths, Garden Ornaments

My first love of stone was 3D carving and stone masonry, so although now my main work and focus is in lettering and 2D relief carving, I still love to carve sculptures, bird-baths and other garden ornaments.