Assemblage - feather, bone, skin, driftwood, and mixed media. 180cm x 145cm x 45cm.
After several years of collecting materials on my travels and walks, and six months in my studio creating, The Wild Redeemer is born.
This piece aims to represent the whole cycle of life and death. The intention in my work is not to shy away from any aspects of this great cycle, but to celebrate and honour the whole, to see great beauty in death as well as in life. To be reborn, in any context, always requires a death first.
Here is the rebirth of this Buzzard, who died as road-kill, was given to a taxidermist, and then eventually came to me as reference material to help me create a computer model of a 'generic eagle' that would then help an American pharmaceutical company sell more drugs. At that time I was a CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) Artist, working for advertising agencies in London. Those days are gladly behind me, but I promised this beautiful Buzzard that I would do my best to honour it and make good some of the commercial and manipulative use it was originally used for. I am now blessed to live in a forest where these birds soar high in the valley every day. I meet young Buzzards making their first attempts at flight, I watch their aerial manoeuvres, catching thermals above the giant Larch trees and occasionally swooping down into our garden. I am in awe of these beautiful Kings and Queens of the valley, and wanted this piece to convey the power and beauty of this creature, and of all the creatures of the forest. The deer hide, and some of the bones were a gift from our dog who is a natural hunter. Feathers come from many birds, most native, some found while travelling. There are seeds and roots of sacred plants from Africa, and driftwood from the river at the bottom of the valley. But let us also remember that many feather dusters and glitter-balls also sacrificed themselves for this piece!
This piece is also about my own path towards redemption. Close contact with Nature, and with some of the peoples of this planet who still hold deep knowledge of the mysteries within Nature, have been instrumental in me finding some inner peace and providing me with endless inspiration for my art. To me, the forest is our Mother Earth's most beautiful and magical art gallery.
The bones of Muntjac, Roe and Red deer, sheep and fox, part embedded in resin containing plumes of Peacock feathers.
Re-purposed home decorations, wrapped in vines from the forest.
The Wild Redeemer being exhibited at Earthheart Centre in the Forest of Dean.
A buzzard with four legs and an armature of sheep jaws? With gemstones glittering in the power centre of its claws? What magic is this?
The exqisite beauty within the feathers of the birds of this land. Baby blue and burnt orange of the female pheasant. An bird whos plummage is often mistaken as underwhelming reveals its beauty on close inspection.
This artwork is nothing more than the temporary suspension of decay that affects all life and all phenomena. With respect to the bones and skins of the dead, suspended for us to appreciate the beauty within life and death.
Peacock feathers, laid over polystyrene balls and crackle medium, sealed with a layer of clear resin.
Messenger of the Deep
Assemblage - mixed media. 95cm x 60cm
Driftwood, seeds and seedpods, a giant crabshell, seashells, a warthog mandible, shiny trinkets and baubles, resin and acrylic mediums.
What message does this Messenger bring? The great oceans have given us life on this planet, and what gratitude and respect do we show them now in this age of pollution and degeneration. We should remember that what gives life can also take it away, that calm waters can also rage with unbounded fury.
Assemblage - feathers, driftwood, mixed media. 182cm x 130cm.
The title of this piece, Natemamu, is the name given to a coming of age initiation of the Shuar people, of the Ecuadorian Amazon. It involves initiation with both Tobacco Rustica, and with Banisteriopsis Caapi, the vine of souls, or the vine of the dead, over a week long ceremony. Straight away upon my return to the UK, I felt the strong urge to make this piece, which although mainly constructed from wood from a flooded river system near Exeter, and feathers from the many Pheasants that have no road sense around these parts, also contains many seeds collected in the Amazon, and the energy of the ceremony which was still strongly present during its construction.
The feathers on the top half of the piece are glued along their spines and individually fixed down, while the feathers on the lower half are attached by piercing the canvas, inserting each feather indivdually and fixing with glue on the back of the canvas.
The markings that form on these pieces of driftwood occur when a particular fungus starts to grow between the bark and the sapwood. If the wood is then dried at this stage, the decay is suspended and the beautiful markings remain.
Seeds have a hole drilled through each one, and are sewn through the canvas one by one.
The distinctive black and red Huayruro seeds are used as a means of protection by the curandero's of the Amazon.
The Hunted King
Assemblage - driftwood, bones, feathers and mixed media. 107cm x 80cm x 25cm.
Created to pay respects to the beings of the forest where I live, who find themselves hunted. My own dog is a hunter, and provided the pelvis bone of a deer which forms the face of the being represented here. The wings are of Pheasant, the head dress is Magpie, Guinea Fowl and Jackdaw feathers, with some magical African Pygmee seeds for good measure! The spheres below represent the beings that lie under the protection of the King's wings.
The frame is constructed to lean outwards and give an imposing feel, whilst also serving as a means to keep dust from settling on the piece.
Whatever you may hunt for in the forest, make sure to seek permission from the Hunted King!
The Lizard's Dream
Assemblage - driftwood, feathers, glitter balls and a sleeping lizard. 100cm diameter x 13cm depth.
Double Helix light fitting.
Mopani wood. 80cm diameter, 120cm height.
Under view of the piece called Helix. Pieces of Mopani wood were fixed invisably together to form a double helix structure. Mopani wood is incredibly heavy, but when the double helix was completed, it gave the sculpture great integral strength.
This piece was a commision for a barn conversion and retreat centre in Wales, and both materials and shape were intended to echo the exposed and ancient oak beams in the space, and the magnificent hanging central chimney (seen below). The shadows and shapes thrown by the light can be seen in the video posted below.
The space where Helix now hangs, showing the exposed wooden beams, and the central fireplace and chimney which provided the cues for the materials and design chosen for the commission.
Helix's first flight
Footage from my studio as this piece was being constructed, showing the amazing shapes and shadows that this organic light shade throws.
Introducing my new studio assistant, Robin.
During the construction of the Double Helix, a Robin befriended me, and visited the studio every day. He was very interested in the sculpture, hopping all over it even as I worked on it with power tools! He added several nice blobs of bird shit, and in exchange for some food, would sing to me while I worked.
Assemblage - Ivy driftwood, feathers, rope, birch twigs. 180cm x 65cm x 35cm.
Vesica pisces, the geometry born out of two intersecting circles, and the mother of all forms. This piece honours the beauty of the Feminine. It honours the dark birthing space of the womb, the nurturing and wild power of creation that the feminine holds. My own experience of the re-birthing power that the trees of this world can also afford us is echoed in the creation of this piece.
At nearly two metres tall, this piece carries quite an impact on its viewers! Its starting point was when I found an large and exquisite piece of Ivy driftwood whilst out on a foraging mission. The distinctive shape, when turned on its side, made me think that it would become the outer shape of an eye, but the driftwood had other plans...
The inter-connection between the life of the artist, and the life of their works never ceases to amaze me. At the time of creating this piece, and without my conscious mind registering what was happening, my wife and I were trying to conceive a child.
Subtle accents of colour were added to the Ivy branches, bringing out the grain. Layers of rope were stacked upon a former to create the interior of the Yoni. Pheasant plumage surrounds the clitoris. Birch brash was tied into thin bundles using wire and laid around the sides of the piece.
A serpent rising up into the Sacred Feminine. Now theres a thing.
This piece felt like it belonged somewhere with a strong female energy and presence. I was approached by the amazing Jewels Wingfield, founder of Earth Heart centre in The Forest of Dean, and a great facilitator of female empowerment. She had received a dream to contact me in regards to my artwork. After our discussion, I made this piece a gift to the centre.
Autumn on the Moor
Assemblage - paper maché, Iboga root, Birch bark, Pine bark, seedpods, mother of pearl. 125cm x 73cm x 12cm.
A wild and magical experience in one of the last stands of ancient Oak woodland, Whistman's Wood, that lies hidden away in Dartmoor National Park provided the half the inspiration for this piece. The rest of the inspiration comes from the materials foraged from various forests and beaches of this beautiful planet.
My deepest wish for my work is that others may be inspired by, and see, the exquisite beauty of the natural world. Worlds within worlds open up as we examine the small details, the textures of life, and the beauty inherent within decay and death.
Shield for a Pheasant
Assemblage - Pheasant feathers, seeds, paper maché. 100cm x 100cm.
Many pheasants inhabit this part of the country. Unfortunately their road sense is not the best, and many birds can be found on the side of the roads. My appreciation for the feathers of this bird was not present until I had examined its multi-hued plumage up close. This piece is dedicated to these magnificent, but sometimes daft, birds. May they survive the hunters guns, and driver's cars.
Using a canvas as a base, each feather was individualy fixed into place by piercing through the canvas, inserting the feather so that it stands upright, and fixing with a dab of glue behind the canvas. Like so much of my sculptural work, it becomes a meditation to complete.
The frame is a hollow structure which is then clad in a thick layer of paper maché pulp. Without a drying room at the time, the frame took over a month to fully dry! This medium is, in my opinion, much maligned as a material fit for children only, yet its properties of lightness, strength and availability make it a material that I come back to time and time again.
A commission that was inspired by my daily walks in the wooded valley where I live. The stream at the bottom is called The Beadon Brook, and its wild magic flows strongly.
Chicken feathers died green and black sit on the edge of the stream representing the lush foliage, while mopani wood forms its banks. Crackle mediums and paints form the jewel-like flow of water, while magical orbs dance in the water as shafts of sunlight hit the forest floor.
Blood Moon Rising
Assemblage - wood, twine, tree bark, mixed media. 125cm x 45cm x 15cm.
I was gifted an exquisite piece of driftwood, hollow and with oval holes all along its length. This became the basis for the stand of trees represented in this piece. Combining with natural twine, Birch tree bark paper maché and an old decorative light shade, and a dark entangled woodland appeared.
Within the "Moon", and scattered throughout the piece, crushed mirror provides sparkle and glittering light.
The Root Question
Driftwood - Mopani, Ivy. 68cm x 58cm x 22cm.
The twisting remains of what must have been an incredibly old piece of Ivy, found after floods had bought it down the river Exe, balanced on its finest point atop a magnificent piece of Mopani root.
The intricate and delicate patterning is formed by fungus entering into the wood as it begins to decay. By drying it at this stage, these patterns can be preserved. Subtle accents of colour have been given to the patterning through washes of watercolour, then sealed with a preserving varnish.
Assemblage - driftwood, seeds acrylics on canvas. 100cm x 40cm.
An abstract, made and given as a gift. Driftwood collected from a beach in Spain, seeds from the Amazon.