About the sculptor
About the sculptor
I started making birds in 1993. Before this date I worked for a large building services company for 14 years. Starting straight from college I served a four year electrical apprenticeship, worked my way up the ranks and was finally made a director. An ambition fulfilled.
So, I was thirty five years old, had worked for one company all my career, was thoroughly disillusioned, could see the huge building recession on the horizon and decided to make the break. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am now poorer but happier. Simple.
The inspiration for the first bird I ever made was from reading, for the umpteenth time, Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Using a hammer and chisel, the bird took me six days to complete and although crude in appearance, still hangs to this day from the stairs landing at home where I work. Friends and relatives loved it for its originality and gave me the confidence to approach a local craft gallery. They kindly agreed to hang it in their showroom and await public reaction. The rest is history as they say.
Although the design has changed little in principle, production methods and the quality of the finished product have been transformed, as they had to be, due to trial, error and the kind help and advice of other wood workers who took pity on my ignorance.
Each wing is hand carved from a solid piece of kiln dried hard wood, not steam bent. Cutting the wing from solid wood allows the lines of the grain to follow the contours of the wing giving a striking effect. The wood is then smoothed and sanded using various grades of abrasive paper. Each pair of wings are then individually balanced with the body as each piece of wood has its own weight and characteristics. A lacquer is then brushed on to seal the grain and after further sanding a wax polish is applied to finish the bird, allowing the natural beauty of the wood to shine through.
I work hard to achieve an elegant stylized bird, each with its own natural individual colouring, with elements of engineering in the movement and the tactile quality that is unique to wood.