It is known the the orchid
which blooms in Spring
fears the singing of the Taylor bird,
but the Chrysanthemum,
which flowers on late Autumn
defies the severe frost.
Why is this?
It is because that which flourishes early
whilst it is difficult to harm that which flourishes late.
From The Lianzu - String of Pearls - a prose text - by Xi Huillian 397-433 A.D.
Sculptor and Letter Cutter
I am a sculptor in stone and letter cutter. I started life as a painter but moved to 3-D as soon as I left college in 1976 because my ideas were more suited to the sculptural media rather than narrative or abstract painting.
After leaving Art School and Teacher's Training I became assistant to Lyn Chadwick in 1978 where I learned about a medium then called Stollit, which was a mixture of iron filings and plaster of Paris. I also learned about bronze casting. Lyn had his own foundry there at the time, later to become Pangolin Castings.
I have gained many skills along the way to express my thoughts, words and ideas.
After having studied painting, I took myself through various techniques to learn about handling clay, plaster, mould making, construction and resin casting. I discovered stone in 1984 and found it was the right medium for my expression which gave me a solid, long-lasting, finished work without having to go through another process.
I found 'in service' training along the way. After developing my work in stone, I was asked to do a headstone for which I needed to learn about letter cutting, which in turn led to calligraphy and many commissions using lettering skills. I continued to create sculptures in stone, having exhibitions, teach and do commissioned work.
I have recently picked up my paint brushes again. working largely on abstracts to bring colour back into my work and whatever lead from that beginning.
I have a wide skill base and I choose my medium according to my ideas. The evolution of ideas is of paramount importance to me. The medium for the work and technique is chosen for appropriateness.
DEVELOPMENT OF WORK
My work as a sculptor has evolved from the landscape both visually and symbolically.
I also use elements such as sand, plants, water, earth, candles and words. I put these elements into bowls which I have called Conceptacles - a concept in a receptacle which is about reproductive creativity.
Inevitably working for Lyn Chadwick in my formative years did influence a little but not so much with his work, more his techniques. I am, once again using Plaster of Paris with iron filings but I make up this mixture myself to make maquettes.
Barbara Hepworth and Virginia Woolf have been my greatest guiding lights. I still aim to understand and find abstract form and I still use words to find form in sculpture. Other movements in the arts such as Concrete Poetry, primitive, Pre-Historic artefacts, and Celtic arts and crafts and more recent thinkers such as Carl Gustave Jung, some Buddhists thought, Japanese techniques and craftsmanship, along with our rich, Western culture have all had some influence.
My work is about the sanctity of the everyday and I hope that ideas and materials come together to create a greater sense of the extraordinariness of life.
Art is nourishment.
I do not create works from a sterile white box. We have life and all it does to us. We have a rich cultural history from which to draw inspiration and a natural world full of wisdom. My interest in prehistoric artefacts and how and why the creators interpreted the world around them and the freedom of their approach within the demands of their societies is fascinating.
I feel that now I have a skill base to draw on that gives me a greater sense of freedom.