This blog is continued with older entries on my website's 'Latest News' page, where you can see projects and images going back to February 2009.

There's loads of images of my carvings and projects on the website, going right back to when I first started out carving. There are also, of course, a few stories. To see them or to return to the website, please click on this link

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

An 'Arty Bench' for the Larmer Tree Festival, at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire

I've just come back from the Larmer Tree music festival, which is held at a beautiful site on the Wiltshire/Dorset border. They approached me to see if I'd like to make a piece of site sculpture. The result was the 'Arty Bench', which can be sat upon but also drawn on. The large 'blobs' of black are actually blackboard paint, which festival goers could write on using chalks provided. The chalks were replaced throughout the festival and cloths were hung on the bench to wipe it clean.



It rained quite a bit while we were there, but we saw some great bands and met some fantastic people. Thank goodness we packed waterproofs!



As you can see on the right, the ground got pretty churned up with all the rain. The bench held up well though. At one point, I saw a couple of teenage girls using the chalks (which had been slightly dissolved in one particularly heavy downpour) as impromptu facepaint. I would like to take this bench to other festivals next year if possible- keep an eye out for it.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Final measurements for the Matthew figurehead.

A few days ago saw me swinging off the front of the Matthew again, getting some vital measurements of the bow profile before beginning to carve the figurehead. Thanks to Thom and the volunteers for their help.


Here's a picture of the Matthew, moored in Bristol harbour. This replica of the ship (in which John Cabot sailed to Newfoundland) was built in 1994.



Job done!

Here's small clay maquette, which was made to work out the rough proportions of the finished figurehead. It will be a talbot, an extinct breed of hunting dog which was apparently once kept near the harbour to rescue people who fell in. It will give you an idea of the final piece.


other work recently....

I've been working at Lockleaze Youth and Play project in Bristol, improving an area of yard at the back of the project. This included installing a fire pit and seating, digging a pond and putting a fence around it and building a barbecue and clay pizza oven.



The barbecue and pizza oven. The clay render underneath covers a layer of insulating clay and straw. The oven itself is made from clay, sand and straw.

Canadian First Nations woodcarving tools and a beautiful treehouse cabin at Chimo refuge in Quebec

Hello again! It's been a while since my last post, but quite a lot has been going on. I recently spent a couple of weeks in Canada, mainly around Montreal in Quebec. While there, we travelled to Ottawa and visited the Museum of Civilsation. I was very impressed by the skill, scale and detail of the First Nations carvings on display there, particularly those from the West Coast.

These are original carver's tools on show there. The long-handled adze has a stone blade, which was common before contact with Europeans and access to steel. Sometimes tooth was also used as a blade, especially beaver tooth. Behind this adze is another, which is D-shaped and has a steel blade. In the front is a 'crooked knife', a versatile carving tool with a curved blade.


These images show the finish that a skilled carver could get using adzes. The canoe, made by carvers from the Tshimshian nation, has vertical lines of marks towards the centre and horizontal lines at the prow. The effect reminds me of the texture of woven cloth. The totem pole is in a museum in Montreal.


This image shows totem poles in the main hall of the Museum of Civilisation. It gives some idea of the scale of the poles...

Later in the trip, we stayed at the Chimo refuge in the Laurentian mountains, north of Montreal. The treehouse cabin that we were in was built by the owners with help from volunteers. It was beautifully constructed, with the tree clad in insulation inside to protect it from thermal shock when the cabin is warm in winter whilst outside it is bitterly cold.