Sunday, 10 March 2013


In a Cleft Stick? 

Figurative sculptures now raising awareness of dyslexia.

In time for the upcoming You Don't Know What I'm Capable of! exhibition starting on the 1st April at Southsea library here is some background to my Cleft sculptures.

Splitting wood is a wonderful process, full of discovery as you guess what may be inside, revealing form and texture often with one hefty clout.
It took 30 years to indulge myself in this fantastic process of splitting logs in a purely creative way though.

Helped by a splitting tool called a froe in this case made by a female blacksmith at Gränsfors Bruks in Sweden. A fantastic company with a great story told at this Do lecture by CEO Gabriel Branby.

The other seductive tool used was a little Lie Nielsen palm plane which is a delight especially when used across the grain of green oak. Making a great noise as the shavings push your fingers apart

The timber was from an oak log that had been misidentified in a lorry load of sweet chestnut logs from Westonbirt Arboretum

The reaction between steel and oak is interesting the tannic acid and ferrous oxide producing a black stain which in this case climbed up the oak forms while encouraging bright orange rust to spread over the steel base very quickly.

Originally exhibited in my then home at West Mill in Bridport some went on to live in the lovely gardens of The Hyde Residential Home at Walditch for some years.

Now destined to go off to two sites near Portsmouth one a very interesting new exhibition called 'You Don't Know What I'm Capable of!' the others being displayed at 1000 Lakeside home of the Southern Co-Op amongst others.

My dyslexia got the blame for holding me back at school. I later discovered from Jackie Stewart this was missing the point and that a brain that worked slightly differently can have its own advantages. In my case the ability to visualise 3d objects and resolve problems in a different way. Thanks to a greater understanding of Dyslexia help is available to many more these days but Dyslexia Action need our support to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Figurative in concept the relationship between one and the next can tell a story deliberate or accidental. 

If you are able to go to see the sculptures at Lakeside or Southsea library I would love to hear what relationships you see in them.

Next time there is firewood to chop allow some time to play a bit more at the very least putting the happy accidents that look interesting to one side of the fire as sculpture however temporary.

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