||I was born in Paris in 1963, and grew up in London and Devon. Leaving school I moved north to Leek, Staffs where I undertook a 2-year B/Tec course in Art and Design. My feelings then, were that I was not ready for fine art but that my need was to learn technique. I decided to take the craft avenue over fine art. Rather than the brush I chose chisels and the lovely, warm smoothness of wood to be my medium.
Returning to London I completed a 3-year Higher National Diploma at the City and Guilds of London Art School, in Carving Gilding and Polychrome Finishes. During this time I worked in a woodcarving workshop, supplementing my knowledge and income at every spare moment for 2 years. Having completed the course, I got a job at Thomas Restorations in Maida Vale, for 3 years, working mainly for Partridges of Bond Street. There, I experienced the works of Adam, Chippendale and Thomas Hope.
Growing up in an artistic family, I have always been surrounded by interesting artefacts, which has influenced my decision to carve wood. My inspirations have largely come from the various ancient civilisations around the globe, and I greatly admire the boisterous world of the medieval cathedral carvers. I also enjoy the more sophisticated work of Hepworth and Brancusi amongst others.
Throughout my life I have always had a need to accomplish a skill before allowing myself to relax and merely create. I used to marvel at Picasso’s early works of photographically correct paintings and juxtapose them with his later works of play. It has been important to me to learn the ABC of my chosen medium, before allowing myself the luxury of experimentation.
Although I have by no means achieved perfection in my craft, and my life’s work will be to perfect, I can now allow myself – or even - know that it is necessary to enter the world of original sculpture. My aim is to develop the medium of woodcarving, drawing on the learnt discipline of my craft whilst breaking free of the strict formal confines imposed by ornament. Unlike my earlier beliefs, to simply create could be the largest challenge of my life!
I work mainly with lime, pine, oak and holly, using about 15 chisels out of a set of 150. My workshop’s needs are simple-a couple of benches, sharpening stones, a band saw and 2 planes. I find stone a useful medium, as it demands simplicity of design. For my new larger sculptural ideas I may have to invest in a small chainsaw, but my techniques will always remain with the ancients – they did it so well.
Several ideas are queuing up for attention, and I have plans to incorporate polychrome finishes and gilding. I want to work in the round, in bas-relief, with ¾ wall sculptures and freestanding pieces, ranging from strict or stylised to smooth and open.
My ambition is to have a business that can revere and restore the old, but has time and commissions to create new, exciting designs and maybe one work a year that is really challenging.