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. Carving predominantly by hand in a variety of stone, I create one of a kind sculptures. I want these to appeal not only visually, but also very much to the sense of touch. I believe touch is essential in all our lives, and in art it distinguishes sculpture from the other mediums. Stone, in particular, has a wonderful tactile quality. It's satisfying to hear people commenting at exhibitions on how irresistible my sculptures are to touch. They are made that way!
Carving stone is a passion, almost a compulsion for me. It’s a very challenging medium, but 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 to model in clay for example. Once a piece of stone is chiselled 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. Unfortunately I had to take some time off from stone carving for health reasons, but I'm now, thankfully, managing to make it part of my life again.
"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks." John Muir
The natural world has provided inspiration for much of my work to date. In the past I have entered and been thrilled to have been selected as a finalist 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 is on my to do list. 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. ‘Seeing’ the design in the stone, a moment of inspiration, a visual image, a word, maybe even a dream. The colour of the stone may kindle the idea, or I may decide on the subject, sketch and model, then try and seek the right stone for it. Alabaster I find particularly pleasing to work with because of its translucence, colours, patterns, and possible finishes. 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!