A Herefordshire Journal

2015-10-03 09.26.04I am showing work at the biennial Out of Nature sculpture exhibition in Herefordshire during October 2015, in the gardens restored by the Watt family who reside at Newport House.

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.

Spring (2011)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.


7 thoughts on “A Herefordshire Journal

  1. I really enjoyed looking at both the pictures of the gardens and your Lime wood carving. I especially like the pigs, real and carved!

  2. Hi Jon Fabulous work and an amazing journal. Pleased you’re keeping busy! All the best Derek (woodturning and sculpture turntable designer…..)


  3. Healing Lime. Looked at your lime piece images for a long time yesterday. Relived the niches, trees, creature( hedgehog?) oak struts and pig to my delight whilst in the dentists’ chair for an hour of root- canal work. The act of remembering and re-imagining kept the mind on another plane. So, Thank you.

    1. On the first morning, I opened the door into the lane and came across a small hedgehog that could not get back up onto the grass area; there is low, gravelled moat – only 9″ in depth – around the cottage. The gardeners said that they sometimes place lost hedgehogs into the safety of the walled garden as they have a plentiful supply of food – and help keep down slugs and so on! Lucky hedgehogs…

  4. Thank you Jon, A wonderful day in a beautiful place. A focused creative space for you and an opportunity for us to see and feel what is like to be you at work!! I look forward to seeing your next piece.
    Juliet ( and Lisi and Ali)

  5. I was fascinated (and envious!)to read about your Herefordshire stay and to see your wonderful photos, it looks like a truly inspiring place and the fine panel which resulted seems to be the proof of this (Love the pig! 🙂 ) I look forward to picking up my own efforts from your last West Dean course which have now been fired apparently.

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