I am a self-taught wood sculptor and trees are very important to me: a source of both artistic inspiration and relaxation. Wood itself is truly amazing. Vibrant living material, it is the backbone of every tree and a remarkable record of its own history. Timber reveals unique growth characteristics and fascinating growth patterns which I enhance by sympathetically working with the grain. I see natural ‘imperfections’ such as branches, knots and holes as fantastic opportunities to create something special. With flow lines dictated by the wood itself, each piece becomes a naturally tactile and flowing piece of art. By working in harmony with nature it is almost as though every finished piece was already there just waiting to be revealed.
As a forest ecologist by profession I am acutely aware of the natural value of trees. They shape our world, enhance our landscape and literally provide us with the air to breathe. Living entities, I never take trees for granted. I only source timber that is destined to be either burned or thrown away.
Pieces come to me from garden waste heaps, winter log piles or cut-offs from other artists’ creations. Often, my timber is still ‘green’ and possesses its bark, enabling me to incorporate it into artworks. I use every piece of wood - e.g. twigs for pegs, branches for legs to create sturdy A-frames used for displaying posters or other artists’ paintings. Leftover shavings and dust feed my wood burner. Nothing is wasted.
By incorporating the 'Tree of Life' into its logo Woodland Inspirations wants to emphasise the important relationship of people and trees. People, in one way or another, have always been dependent on trees; recently however, trees are becoming more dependent on people. Woodland Inspirations was formed in 2009 and moving the company from England to France in 2018 gives me the opportunity to see trees in a different light, i.e. as pieces of art in their own right. I hope to do the trees justice by making beautiful items from their left over timbers. I intend to leave organising woodland festivals, creating management plans and seminars behind, but can't help to keep an eye out for the beautiful habitats that wood pastures provide and will have fun trying to discover Green Man faces in any nooks and crannies on the continent.