I draw the inspiration for my work from my deep connection with the ancient past. Most of my pieces have a spiritual dimension, whether a statue of Madonna and Child, Pictish rock art or a carving of a bird. Often this involves interpreting the vision of my clients into stone.
I have carried out commissions for all kinds of organisations, from town and parish councils, charities and trusts to universities, churches and corporate bodies. My work is divided into four main areas: monolithic stone sculpture, sculptural functional features, smaller stone sculptures and sketch models – small pieces in plaster of paris or plastiline for casting in bronze resin.
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It was while a merchant seaman on the Great Lakes and the Eastern Seaboard of North America and Canada that I discovered my love of stone carving and the Inuit of Lake Superior taught me to carve in soapstone. On returning to Britain, I continued to develop my new direction and qualified as a stonemason from Weymouth Technical College. Later, while developing my career as a sculptor undertaking large-scale public commissions, I gained a degree in Art & Design at Lancaster University.
I had already had my first major public commission when I met sculptor Josefina de Vasconcellos. In her eighties at the time, she was Antoine Bourdelle’s pupil and assistant, who in turn had been assistant to Rodin. It was through working with Josefina that I realised the great artistic heritage of the Lake District, in terms of both art and literature.
I create mainly innovative new work for public spaces using traditional craft techniques, often using the more unusual stones found in Cumbria, such as carboniferous limestone, Shap granite and Kirkstone slate. Much of my carving is done direct, a technique made popular between the 30s and 50s under the banner of ‘truth to materials’.
I have worked with a wide range of community groups, from probationers and young offenders to students of all ages who uses law essay writing service to make their life easier. I see the craft process as being beneficial to others. Now that the apprentice system has all but disappeared, a training opportunity created around an art project can help young people adjust better to their society.
I was instrumental in the creation of Cumbria Rock Sculpture, primarily a ‘New Deal’ initiative designed to provide jobs in the arts and crafts. I brought several prestigious commissions to the project and was able to pass on my experience both as maker and trainer to young students, who produced a wide range of sculptures and stone seats for public spaces.
To date I have undertaken many significant commissions for churches, local authorities, regeneration companies and charities, as well as private individuals and commercial clients, such as Sainsburys. I continue to produce high quality and thought-provoking work in stone and other materials. Ultimately, my aim is to continue working with the themes of spirituality and movement in stone.
Below are some of my main influences for sculture: