I see myself primarily as a wood-carver, and this skill takes me in a number of different directions.
My interest in carving started when I decided to make some small puppets as Christmas presents. These early puppets utilised driftwood and branches complete with bark. They had a primitive and slightly wild feel. I enjoyed the process, and was pleased with the results.
I felt very encouraged in my new creative direction when I got a grant from Northern Arts, as well as some opportunities to exhibit my work.
During the early ‘80s I came to London and succeeded in getting a Setting Up Grant from the Crafts Council. This allowed me to develop my carving skills further.The puppets got larger and more sculptural. I enjoyed emphasising the natural qualities of the wood, leaving it unpainted but highly finished.
These puppets were received favourably, and I started to exhibit them extensively around Britain. My work was then included in exhibitions which promoted British makers in Kyoto and Tokyo (British Council), Munich, and Avignon (Crafts Council).
The puppet making process led smoothly to automata making. I became fascinated by the process of combining the sculptural with the mechanical.
I discovered the exciting world of Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, and was very inspired by other automata makers.
Finding new ways of making the work move became part of the creative process. Leaving the mechanisms exposed made them almost as important visually as the actual carving.
During the early 90s I got involved with the renowned ‘Little Angel Theatre’ in London, and became their resident carver, making puppets, as well as props for a number of productions.
My most recent work with the Little Angel (now as a freelance) was for The Tempest, a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Little Angel Theatre.