The year spins around dangerously fast! Autumn arrives bringing a whirlwind of activity as I put the finishing touches on my solo exhibition. I was so fortunate years ago to have been introduced to Nicholas, the owner of The Eton Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, a picturesque gallery along Eton High Street across the Thames from Windsor castle. From that first meeting where he was reassuringly encouraging about the little stag I showed him, we’ve had a long and exclusive relationship; His is the only gallery that shows my work in England.
I really enjoy making for my solo exhibition. Fresh from the Chelsea Flower Show I have loads of ideas and the solo exhibition gives me the opportunity to make them.
The poster boy is my Highland Bull. He is one mass of curls. It took me around a year to collect enough sufficiently curly driftwood to finish him off.
The trick to making a very curly driftwood animal is to get the undercoat right. I look for really gnarly groovy slabs of driftwood to attach to the armature. These have deep recesses and this gives me the space to insert the subsequent layers of curls. I went overboard with curls on his face, falling from the inside of his ears, covering his eyes... Each piece of curly driftwood, however small, has at least 2 fair sized stainless steel screws attaching the piece onto the underlying slabs of driftwood. I didn’t manage to count them however I am certain that there are over 2,000 stainless steel screws and bolts that have gone into making him.
I have also had a lot of fun making two Feral Billy goats. One is perched atop a stump of wood looking down intently into a pool of water – seeing his reflection for the first time. He is called Vanity.
My second goat is leaning on the edge of a limestone vase munching as goats do on a planted tree. He is called the Importance of Greens.
Another exciting part of the exhibition is the launch of my first bronze – A Really Tight Turn – a hare caught at the very top of a turn with legs, hair and ears flying.
Aside from this I have squirrels, pine martens, British Lop pigs, monkeys, horses and hares. The pieces will be on display at the gallery as of 25 October. I will be at the gallery on Sunday 6 November as will my good friend, the indomitable Johnny Kingdom, TV presenter and Exmoor expert. Please drop in!