I am an artist living and working in North Devon, originally from South Gloucestershire. I make sculptural forms using woodworking skills that were learnt from family members as I grew up.
My grandfather was a kilnsman at the brickworks across the field from my childhood home. Some of the tools I use he passed on to me and I remember using them as a boy. The architecture of today often reminds me of these roots and many Bristol warehouses were built from the deep red Cattybrook brick from the quarry and kiln that my grandfather and other family members worked. These remaining structures help me to acknowledge my rural upbringing, and transport me back to the woods, fields, and quarries of my childhood.
These early experiences of rural isolation and of the wildlife that inhabited this landscape; fish, birds and nests, continue to inform my relationship with materials, structure and form. I make with materials I want to grasp, to do something with. I want to handle them, build them, pull them together, and push them apart.
My sculpture Pica Pica (2020) is based on my wanting to get close to a magpie nest and all it’s intricacies, wild and out of reach.
More recently, I have been experimenting with different materials, and have begun working with metal and plastic. These materials have emerged as I explore human impact in the landscape, my own histories of manufacturing and construction, whilst also bringing with them questions around industrialised refining processes and waste. The works have grown in size, and in doing so their own relationship with architecture emerges, expanding to become spaces to negotiate, to move around within, rather than without, they are immersive environments.
My Inside Outside (2020) is a wooden cube-like structure made from a red cedar tree, which I cut into planks and then into strips and lined with nylon monofilament. The scale is human size, something to relate to. The space can be entered and the red cedar has a distinctive smell, particularly when first cut and the inside walls and open ceiling are lined with taught coloured nylon monofilament winding, weaving and looping.
These contrasting materials present dilemmas in how they position and relate to one another and with their natural and synthetic qualities.
I originally went to art school in the 1970’s, however I went on to train as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist which heavily informs my understanding and thinking. These dual experiences, help me to see my work as an unconscious expression of thoughts, feelings and moments. I know I want the experience of making something, yet I don’t really know what it is that I want to make. What emerges from an idea is something that I have not quite seen or known before. It is unique, a one off yet has it’s origins in something familiar in my mind.
The cube My Inside Outside is an example of this with the physicality and experience of the woods, labour, tools and days spent at the quarry pond fishing.
I am currently working on a new sculpture using suspended oak and acrylic rods for an exhibition at PZ Gallery Penzance 11-13 June 2021, this is a group show with Newlyn School of Art.