I knew I couldn't reproduce all the complicated pattern details of the abalone realistically, so my shell was to be a stylised interpretation of what I saw.
I had a rectangular piece of white alabaster so the first stage involved shaping it roughly by sawing off a thin slice along its length, as it was too wide, and then sawing off two of the corners (the offcuts saved to be used in future projects). Then the block had to be rounded into a more shell-like shape using rasps.
(The wood-block carving set of six tools was from Tiranti's in Warren Street - see Useful Sites for link)
This was a very challenging project (which stretched over two terms) and there were areas of the finished carving which didn't exactly turn out as well as I'd hoped, but overall I'm pleased with the result and feel I've learned a lot more about carving and improved my technique in the process.