STRANDED ... AND RE-ARRANGED
Everything I make is dictated by what I find and can get into the car - some of them are big!
Obviously driftwood forms the basis but I add lost jewellery, sea-glass, sea-worn pottery, clay pipes and metal objects if I find them. I also use soft coral (sometimes called Gorgonia or sea fans) which are washed up along the Jurassic Coast here. The white ones are good for trees in winter scenes and the black ones look gothic.
Some of my products have a use such as the small furniture pieces and the key racks (the "Key Quays") and some are just decorative to allow you to have a taste of the seaside in your own home.
No two pieces are the same so I cannot accurately reproduce something I have made before.
Every now and again, I exhibit in galleries and cafes. Sometimes this is with my wife Carol who is a highly successful textile artist. I frame many of her originals which you can see on her site here.
I am also part of Artwey, a collection of artists here on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.
We find the wood locally here on Dorset beaches and also wherever else we find ourselves on the coast. Big storms = big finds, some of them far too large to drag off the beach and get into the car.
However, some nice blue pallets arrive from time to time. Sad but useful are the parts of boats that get washed up as well.
I also frame my wife's pictures.
Carol is a very successful textile artist, producing hand-sewn pictures of coastal scenes and landscapes.
I use only solid wood in the frames. Any parts left over go to …
… sculptures. Rather than burn the end bits, I make fish and other sculptures from them.
Anything else we find might have a use too. I have made a playhouse, cupboards, shelf units, Christmas trees, fences, gates and even a shop sign from driftwood.
Seaglass is another good material – this time for tiny boat pictures.
The trick to all this is coming back with the right stuff and this means envisaging what can be used while on the beach. Great in the summer, but that’s not when the storms come.
My paid job was as a Psychology teacher and, a few years ago on Mudeford sandspit, I found half a plastic brain!
Each piece on the beach is a one-off.