From September 2nd until the 17th 2012 Group 85 visited the Isle of Portland in order to carve at “The Circle of Stones” site in Tout Quarry.  The group consisted of twelve sculptors, six males and six females: 

Coby Dam Paul Saris
Liesbeth Roorda Jac Schmidt
Bep Klaassen Maurice Dorren
Ria Schoen Leendert Wijtman
Hetty van der Eng Herman Groen
Resy Croonenberg Jan Willem Lackamp

Two guests completed the group: Truus Leenders en Jenet de Boer.

We were happy to be there at the chosen time of the year, because we enjoyed lots of sunshine with almost no rain. This was important to us as we cannot work in rainy weather because it is too dangerous to use electricity. In contrast to ancient stone workers we are using electrical tools in abundance. We got electricity thanks to Mr. Geoff Smith, the owner of Stone Firms, who lent us a big generator for the third consecutive year which enabled us to use our grinders and drills simultaneously. Formerly, in the event of rain, we had to return to the YMCA, the place where we stay. Now we had a cabin to give us a shelter for rainy moments thanks to Danny Nash from Portland Stone. We also aquired scaffolding to work on the big boulders which were supplied by Chesterman and Matthews from Weymouth.

When arriving at Tout Quarry the first thing for us to do is to clean up the area in order to reclaim the overgrown sculptures. Every year we are curious whether we will be able to find our sculptures as nature does his own work while we are not in attendance. From 2013 on we will get help from Dorset Wildlife Trust. Mr. Sam Hammer promised us that he will arrange that the Circle of Stones will be cleaned in springtime just before we arrive. Our group is delighted to have the opportunity to carve in this special area. Here we can work with very large boulders. As we are at Tout Quarry just for a fortnight every year it takes up to seven years to finish a sculpture.  The sculptures we produce will stay in the Circle of Stones on the Island of Portland permanently. This year some were finished. Other sculptures were placed at their final spot.  We gave the place an uplift by spreading again three heavy loads (twenty tonnes each) of aggregate around the sculptures in the hope the plants will stay beneath. Two of those loads were sponsored again by Stone Firms. The digger and the bumper came for free from Perryfields Ltd.  by courtesy of Mr. Julian Langrish. They were driven by our special driver/artist Mr. Rich Dunford three days long from morning till evening.

Every year we go for a special excursion, this time to the Albion Stone Ltd. Portland’s stone mine. We had a very good guide , the manager for mining Mr. Marc Godden. He told us a lot about the history of the limestone and mining process and showed us around in the factory where we saw how rough stone is transformed into several products.

In twelve years it has become a tradition for us to reside in the YMCA and getting our daily tasteful meals at Dawn’s Sugar Loaf restaurant. For the evenings “The George” is our favourite hangout, an easy walk from the YMCA. We thank all the people who gave their support to our project and will be happy to come again next year.

Last but not least we want to mention the wonderful friendship we continue to experience from a couple who introduced us to the Isle of Portland and to Weymouth, Mr. and Mrs. Alan and Angie Briggs.