When starting in on carving gothic foliage, it is very useful to study the piece that is to be copied, or design your own piece, with large shapes in mind that will both facilitate the roughing-out stage, and create visual interest.
This is an excercise from Alec Miller’s book Stone and Marble Carving (1948).
As with many pieces of architectural ornamentaion, the profile of the moulding is cut first, leaving a pillow of stone which will take the foliage. Then, a doughnut shape will be carved, which will lend itself to the visually interesting undulations of the various leaves of the piece.
Along with these shapes, the ribs of the leaves too direct the eye along the leaf, creating action and motion.
This particular piece would suit the cornice of a commercial building quite nicely. Gothic foliage is a great enrichment to architectural cut stone. Tjis piece was carved in Indiana Limestone with hand tools, including: a punch, a pitcher, a tooth chisel, a flat chisel, a roundel, and a mallet.