Stones have always attracted me, I've been collecting them from early childhood to this day. They get everywhere! I studied Geology at university, have had a variety of jobs over the years, even learning to massage with hot stones. Initially inspired by a one day workshop, stone sculpting is now my chosen occupation. Being a self-taught stone sculptor, each time I pick up my tools I find I'm continuing to learn, and believe that's how life should be. The freedom and challenge suits my nature.
I work exclusively carving in natural stone, creating one-of-a-kind works of art, which possess that special, ‘must touch’, wonderful tactile quality uniquely associated with polished rock. Working in a variety of stone and styles, I especially love the colours, translucent nature and finishes that are possible with alabaster. I endeavour to create art to appeal not only visually, but also very much to the sense of touch, a sense I believe is essential in all our lives, and which distinguishes sculpture from all other mediums. It's really satisfying to hear people commenting at exhibitions on how irresistible my sculptures are to touch. They're made that way!
Carving stone is a passion, almost a compulsion for me. Although a very challenging medium, it's also immensely fulfilling and joyful work (unless it breaks). It requires concentration, perseverance, patience, flexibility, hard work and a sense of humour (for when it breaks). Carving is a reductive process, rather than the additive one used in modelling, in clay for example. Once a piece of stone is chiselled, or breaks off, it's gone! There's such an enormous variety of stone, technique, design, and finish which could yield more than a lifetime of inspired works. I'll do what I can.
"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." John Muir
Reflecting my lifelong love of the natural world, my sculpture is primarily inspired by wildlife and nature, including my figurative subjects. I have entered and been thrilled to have been short-listed as a finalist this year, and several times in previous years in the annual David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition, exhibiting at the Mall Galleries in London. Having always enjoyed the outdoors, and being an animal lover, I'm encouraged by the strong links between the worlds of wildlife art and conservation.
I'm enjoying exploring some stylised, figurative forms, and some abstract work. Not wanting to limit myself to a particular subject or style, I like to have a go at whatever finds it's way into my thoughts and ideas. The starting point for a sculpture may come from any direction, a moment of inspiration, a visual image, a word, maybe even a dream! ‘Seeing’ the design in the stone also happens, since much of my source materials are irregularly shaped rocks, rather than squared off blocks and I like to use the natural features of the boulder if I can. The colour of the stone may also kindle an idea, or I may decide on the subject, sketch and model, then try and seek the right stone for it. If I use a representative style, I'm increasingly focusing more on form and pleasing lines, curves, shapes, than detail, attempting to capture the essence and emotion of the subject, and trying to create a stylised fusion of the subject with the colour, texture and beauty of the rock I'm working with. My sculptures are carved and polished as much as I can manage by hand. The process is slower, but allows for the work to change, evolve, and perhaps define itself in certain ways. It also makes the work more peaceful, pleasing, and often actually meditative for me. Power tools, whilst being extremely useful at times, especially as my body ages, are also noisy and dusty to work with!