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 felt very encouraged in my new direction when I received a grant from Northern Arts, as well as some opportunities to exhibit.
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 further. The puppets I carved got larger and more sculptural. I enjoyed emphasising the natural qualities of the wood whilst 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 promoting 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.
Around that time 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 – most notably (now as a freelance) I was involved in Little Angel’s co-production with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of ‘Venus and Adonis’ and ‘The Tempest’. Since then I have been involved with many more theatre companies and productions.