Staying in the idyllic thatched Gardener’s Cottage enabled me to work on a new piece of sculpture on a section of Newport lime wood through nine days at the start of the show. Cutting out unnecessary travelling and residence costs allows things to happen as if one were at home in the studio. Another sculptor was also in residence on the Estate, Rolf Hook working with yew wood. Our contrasting practices and presence enrichen the visitor experience.
It was a useful test to see how a concentrated period would affect the improvisational carving process. I am not interested in the lustrous qualities of wood so much as its blank canvas for reductive working. Lime presents a consistent, fine block away from the occasional splits and knots.
With both the work and garden produce just outside my front door, no mobile phone signal and no papers, this would give a chance for something of the place to seep in. In contrast the wider happenings of the day influenced the development of Spring (2011), which was from a similar lime block sourced and carved (picture) in Sussex, that started out as a single,vertical figure. The intense 50 hours worked in Herefordshire contrasts with my present South Downs stone block where I am working about 6 hours a day but with gaps of two to three weeks between the 40-odd carving days over 14 months.
On my last day, it was serendipitous to meet Mike Ivens, the Northamptonshire sculptor whose intensive figurative instruction started me on track for The Frink School of Sculpture. Mike’s wife has Latvian roots; her Father was in charge of the community that used to be at Newport House and she showed me an evocative image of the Latvian Foreign Minister by the lake where sculptures now surround.
You can contrast the forms of Journal (2015) and Spring (2011) at Out of Nature HR3 6LL until 25th October. Click on images above to enter full screen slideshow.