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My latest commission piece: a lionfish. This flamboyant reef-pest demands attention: he cruises about, flaunting his outrageous costume and generally having a good time at the expense of native species. Fortunately he’s good eating, once the poisonous spines are removed, and spear fishers are happy to help the ecology by catching them.
Another new piece, originally as a commission: a pearl-bearing clam-shell, either open or with a raised lid. (I know that pearls really grow in oysters, not clams, but oysters are ugly shapes.) Do you have a pearl anniversary coming up? Or could you see this on your window-sill at home, catching the sunlight? The Dictionary of Symbolism tells me “The pearl is a symbol of perfection and incorruptibility; it is a symbol of long life and fertility, and because of its luster it is often considered a moon symbol. Buried within the shell, the pearl represents hidden knowledge, and it is highly feminine.”
New in May
Rose Bouquet collection
The Wild Rose: first new major work of 2020
My WILD ROSE is my most recent major piece, and it dominated my time in February and March. It is a full two metres tall and over a metre across, and contains fully-open flowers, opening blooms and buds; the leaves in contrasting colour catch the light, adding lustre and shape.
I know it’s not technically a ‘wild rose’ – which has a bush shape and smaller simpler flowers – but the spirit of this piece is so extravagant and vigorous, it seemed the right name.
I love the sense of depth – you really need to walk around the sculpture to appreciate the this and the open space within.
As with all my work, all the colour comes from heating and quenching the copper – no chemicals or additives are used, except lacquer to preserve the colours.
A new commission: a wire-haired dachshund. As dogs dachshunds have enormous character – they are bigger on the inside than on the outside, and I think it shows in the sculpture.
I got a little sidetracked from what I was going to be making one day in February and made this little rose bud. I love being able to just follow inspiration wherever it leads; it often produces wonderful results.
Recently under development: ants. I have been playing around with variations here, and the bee has dropped in to remind me what I did when making him. The ants are different in character: more mechanical and robotic, and I think we have attained that. The final designs can be seen in the Main Gallery or the Ants and Bugs collection in the Subject Galleries.
I have been experimenting with my single rose design, trying tighter or more open blooms, and adding additional petals.
The Christmas Cracker is about 34cm long, and will open to reveal a 10cm by 4cm interior space. Something to keep for presenting special gifts, perhaps.
Simple £75; opening £95
My penguins have been slightly updated, and I have been adding the new variant to my Christmas displays – which can be seen at the workshop (ring 07714 106 649 to arrange a time), and at Fire and Iron in Leatherhead.
The heron is a sculpture I first made many years ago, but which I have now redesigned and updated. It is an elegantly shaped bird, naturally sculptural, and I’m happy with the way my version captures this. I make several sizes but I think the most effective is slightly larger than life, so his imposing presence stands out a little more in your garden. (This might also help intimidate real herons into not trying to steal the fish from your pond… but I offer no guarantee it works!)
My new bee (March 2019) is larger than you might expect: 24cm from antennae to tail, 30cm across the wing-tips. That’s ten inches by twelve. However, I’m very pleased with his solid and chunky feel; a bee should be quite robust, compared with the fragile structure of a mosquito or dragonfly. The veined iridescent wings are a new technique. One thing to consider is that this level of detail takes time: therefore he’s never going to be a low-priced work, and a smaller simplified version probably would not work as well – the detail is what makes him so good.
This is a larger version of my Hop Bine, created in response to a commission. The extra two tendrils, with extra flowers and leaves, extend the piece to four feet in width, but I am pleased to have retained the graceful elegance of the design.
The hollyhock is from 2018. The level of detail in the leaves, the buds and the flowers combine to make this a demanding piece. However, anything less simply doesn’t look right. The darkness of the foliage contrasts with the rich red flower colour, which is achieved through heating and quenching each bloom. A good coating of lacquer ensures that the colour will stay strong, even when kept outdoors all the year round. It is six feet tall.
My giant crab from 2018 is my newest large creature, but his smaller cousins have been on the loose for several years. This crab is nearly five feet across, and I’m pleased the claws have retained their snippy menace on this scale.
He has now scuttled off to his new home – but I would relish the chance to make another.