Thursday, 4 October 2012

First Day Back

This piece is called First Day Back.  It's made of plaster and shoes and I'm just in the process of submitting it for inclusion in the RWA Autumn Exhibition.  It's part of a series of pieces I made rather privately this winter.  Although they didn't fit ostensibly into the 'normal' type of work I make, I felt at the time that there was a kind of truth to them.  Rather than being the result of gathering acorns from under exquisite and powerful trees, or finding rusty objects during riverside walks, these pieces reflect the day to day reality of my gathering - the gathering up of shoes!  Needless to say there are many other objects scattered on my home floor that need picking up on an endless basis, but there is something quite symbolic about shoes.  In a way, of course, many of them are also very sculptural objects in themselves.

There are actually very few of you who follow this blog.  And I post rarely because I always feel that I should say something that has some meaning or post an image that has some power.  So, today I have set up a new facebook page for my work.  I'm going to try and use it more fluidly than these posts.  I'm going to keep the work facebook page separate from the one I use for social reasons.  Funnily enough that separation - or lack of it! - may just be what First Day Back is all about.

If you'd like to subscribe to my new facebook page it is:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Two pairs of hands at work in the studio over the last few days.  Always a joy.  This is Dickie helping me chainsaw a bit of 'found' wood into some kind of 'gallery-fit' state.  I found the piece itself about two years ago when walking with a friend.  We came across a young man with a chain saw dismantling a fallen tree in a field of the farmer he works for.  My rather mad request for him to saw off a huge chunk and get it back to his yard was met with equanimity based, I think, on a shared love of wood.  The bottle of wine offered can surely not have been enough for the effort he had to make.  Dickie, in the picture above, then heroically risked the suspension on his van to get it back to my studio where it stood in a corner for the best part of 18 months.  The idea for a small man to rest on the very peak then came to me, which I made in wax and then looked at for a couple of months.  Later this week I will pick that same figure up from the foundry but transformed into bronze.  In the meantime Dickie and I have been carving off bits at the back to make the piece manageable in terms of weight, stabilising the bottom, and generally tweaking this old giant. I must go out to the studio later and grey down a small damaged area.  There is a tiny bit of filling to do on the back.  Later in the week I will no doubt have to fiddle around to get the bronze man to settle properly in his resting place.  At some point soon my photographer friend Colin Hawkins and I will spend time trying to get a decent photograph of it.  What all this is leading to hard it is to answer whenever anyone asks one how long a piece of sculpture took to make.....

Friday, 11 May 2012

Two figures in a tree.  Not sure of their meaning yet.  But as is often the case I'm happy to let multiple possibilities roam in and out.  I've just taken the figures to the foundry to be burn out in the lost wax process. When they come in bronze and are back on their perches I'll be very interested to see what interpretations people bring to the work and if they tally with mine - which I will hold back.  I'm happy not imposing meaning on this piece.

Friday, 2 March 2012


This week I installed my sculpture Solace in Gloucester Cathedral as part of the Open West exhibition which is showing there throughout March and involves about 50 artists.  Having been focused on details such as transport and insurance and the costs of moving a large bronze around, I didn't expect to enjoy the experience.  But as soon as we entered the building I was truly awed by its magnificence.  The sculpture, Solace, was created in an attempt to express some of my grief at the damage we are doing to the natural environment and yet also the deep solace I still find in the beauty of nature.  But in this ancient sacred place, the cathedral, its meaning seemed to shift.  Amongst the tombs, which are everywhere including making up the very floor, the grief and the solace seems to relate more to human history - to all the people who have passed through the space, inhabited it and shaped it, over the centuries.  It feels like a privilege to have my sculpture there, to be part of all the people and events that have made up the stream of time that has filled the stone container.