From a very young age I was drawn towards forged metalwork, perhaps attracted by the form & feeling reminiscent of the fairytale illustrations I so loved, as if the sweeping curves, tendrils, the magic, had been made solid, albeit in cold iron.
When I at last got my chance to forge steel, copper & brass; to work directly with the metal, I discovered a real affinity with it & knew, aged 16, that this was ‘it’, this was my material.
I continue to experiment with metals & other materials throughout my education & career, this has given me the knowledge & experience to develop new ideas & techniques.
Having worked predominantly in cast iron & forged steel for the past 16yrs, more recent work has developed from considering a smaller scale, resulting in more delicate pieces built up in copper; graphite; porcelain and silver.
When I finally began working with honeybees, it enabled me to experiment & discover ways to ‘coerce’ these incredible creatures to build to my needs, and to see how the bees build their natural, wild comb when a human has no influence.
Beekeeping is highly seasonal, it has taken time & patience; allowing work at times to literally grow, organically, before I can continue with my part. This enables me to produce work which I hope portrays the intricate beauty of the comb inside a honeybee hive; the natural beauty resulting from organic growth, & a need for economy & strength. Conversely, it wasn’t until I embarked on a beekeeping course that I truly realised that honeybees are subject to intensive-farming methods as much as other livestock, this has also impacted on my thoughts & direction of my work.
Despite having different starting points, & entirely opposing methods of production, these newer pieces have a strong resemblance to some of my cast iron work, which is still evolving.
My work tends to sit precariously on that faint, wobbly line between ‘Art’, & ‘Craft’. My inspiration stems from many places; livestock & plant life found in my natural environment ~ particularly the tiny details; the curl of a new shoot; the structure of a seedpod; the hipbones of a dairy cow. My concerns over intensive farming and human’s impact on the environment also influence what I do. The work is not a direct interpretation of what I see, more an impression, a result of my own interpretation; it can imply a force, a pushing.
My methods of design vary greatly. Be it long, hard, sweated over sketches; midnight inspirations; or, often most successfully; ideas through what I heard recently termed as ‘process led design’, but which I’ve always known as ‘playing’.