Sunday, 28 May 2017

My 3-D exploration

Deer Carving
 Elm branch rescued from mass tree felling

 Inspired by a possible chance to do some more 3-D work this autumn, it’s good to try to gather together material relating to my 3-D journey over the years!

Better to start with an overview, I think……, before going into more detail in later posts!
I wasn’t permitted by my parents to consider Art College on leaving school, so I was lucky at teacher training college to be challenged big time on a ‘Main Subject’ course by a new lecturer , John Davie, who taught us firstly how to use razor-sharp Stanley blades and crisp cartridge to construct a pristine cube, and then to transform that simple shape , using just paint!  It was a huge revelation to me to have my effort held up as a top-hole result! We were then shown how to use this experiment to design an abstract sculpture...what a revelation!

Design for “Flight “abstract sculpture, St Mary’s Teacher Training College in late ’60’s , under the instruction of John Davie

To my enormous surprise I eventually found myself with a finished 3-D abstract piece (I think I called it “Flight”).
We were encouraged to pursue extra-mural projects during long college vacations, and I remember sitting in the garden drawing cross sections of a felled tree, exploring wood forms - a richly rewarding idea, as it turned out, as it led to the development of my personal oevre as an artist!

Abstract pen drawing, wood forms

Another college vacation project had taken me to the workshop/studio
of an artist deep in the Wirral countryside, where I experienced a crash course in learning how to carve wood...more about this in later posts, but with that behind me I had the confidence to have another go, and was able to create the deer sculpture at the top of this article!

 Opportunities for continued 3-D work proved few over the years, but growing confidence took me from the realms of 3-D paintings (similar to Rauschenberg’s work, I realised in retrospect!) , encouraged and aided by excellent local artist Ken Middleton, a Sileby (Leicestershire) builder, to venture further,
exploring organic forms with observation and drawing, and venturing on several occasions into the realms of maskmaking , while at last studying a higher level art course more recently, and leading some workshops!and even constructing a huge steel sculpture with the aid of a blacksmith!
Mask designs and process

"Godwits"  sculpture, showing the tiny first maquette, made with florists wire and tissue paper, and the finished steel structure, being assembled for the first time!

Years later I discovered an opportunity to take part in the preparations for the brilliant Handmade Parade in Hebden Bridge, created by Andrew Kim and his team!  I’d long wanted to find out how to construct giant puppets, and here was my chance!
My first effort in 2015 ended up as a huge white bird, while last year I found myself creating a giant Mudskipper! What a wonderful experience!

Frenetic activity in Victoria Works, Hebden Bridge, preparing for the 2916 HandMade Parade! This is Louise, who applied colour and decoration to my finished puppet.

...and here is my finished puppet on parade, and I’m very grateful to local photographer Bruce Fitzgerald  ( for taking this super pic on the day!

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