My Influences

I was taught to use any medium in sculpture by my teacher Josefina de Vasconcellos. I spent many hours working with plaster of Paris for bronze. I always go back to stone, as everything you could ever need is right there in the stone. Josefina was taught by Bourdelle, another great sculptor who had been Rodin’s assistant. As a proverbial struggling sculptor it was necessary to be able to undertake big works without any extra over heads etc. like paying for bronze. I sometimes produce a sketch model if the work is client based. Its right that the client can get to see a three dimensional sketch of the proposed idea. Sometimes I will work in clay or plaster to create a sketch.

Quote

“There is nothing better than to start work on a big block of stone out in the open air on a fine summer’s day.”

Stone has a spiritual quality it’s hard to explain. It’s as though it can reflect emotion or intent through its constitution. When they say “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” for instance I know what they mean. Its like you are part of the stone, you can go into it somehow. Perhaps this is why I never took to “the shock of the new”. There has always been so much in stone. It’s like being a spiritual time traveller. Josefina was the same, significantly as she approached her 100th year she was still sculpting stone. She used to say “It was a great journey into the universe and the nature of God”. It is not just the spiritual side of things though, there’s the natural world all connected to the earth and connected to us. Man has been good at making clocks which define his schedules etc., stone defines the nature of infinity, if its sculpted or not. Anyway I decided to train myself to work directly in it. I will often let the nature and shape of the stone define the work. Somehow that takes the Me thing out of it. It’s like the work is coming in from some other place.

My favourite works are the Captive and Slave series sculpted in marble by Michelangelo. The figures look like they are climbing out of the marble blocks. It’s almost like the work represents the motives of his soul solidified for all time. I sculpted a prehistoric fish called a coelacanth in slate which was as old as the fish. Surprisingly the stone was the same colour as the fish. We knew this because the fish mysteriously kept surfacing back from the prehistoric times off the coast of Madagascar.

Josefina

younger Statue-of-Reconcilliation

I was taught to use any medium in sculpture by my teacher Josefina de Vasconcellos. I spent many hours working with plaster of Paris for bronze. I always go back to stone, as everything you could ever need is right there in the stone. Josefina was taught by Bourdelle, another great sculptor who had been Rodin’s assistant.

As a proverbial struggling sculptor it was necessary to be able to undertake big works without any extra over heads etc. like paying for bronze. I sometimes produce a sketch model if the work is client based. Its right that the client can get to see a three dimensional sketch of the proposed idea. Sometimes I will work in clay or plaster to create a sketch.

 

Bourdelle

tete-d-apolon---emile-antoine-bourdelle had already had my first major public commission when I met sculptor Josefina de Antoine_Bourdelle_b_Meurisse_1925Vasconcellos. 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’.

Rodin

I draw the inspiration for my work from my deep connection with the ancient past. Most of my pieces have a spiritual August_rodin_dornac_1898 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.

200px-Madonna_michelangeloI 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 and160px-The_Thinker,_Rodin sketch models – small pieces in plaster of paris or plastiline for casting in bronze resin.

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.