I have lived in Lewes with Carol since 1969 and have built myself a good-sized workshop with a panoramic view where I do my creating. Carol looks after our splendid garden (pictured above) which is another attraction during our Open House weekends. I have over 20 quirky creations dotted around the garden.
I left my office job over twenty-five years ago and since then have been able to exercise my creative and practical side. Over the years I have made all sorts of creations from offcuts of wood that people have given to me, or I have found in skips or discarded on beaches. I started with relatively simple things like boxes and photo frames, all with an artistic twist. I have made jigsaws, pencil sharpeners, key hooks, paper racks, pen pots, note holders, driftwood mirror frames and many assorted sculptures and carvings. I have made over 900 things over the years, nearly all one-off creations. I have been asked on occasions to make copies of some things but they all end up unique!
I started making automata and mechanical models in 1997 and had enough to put on a show during Art Wave 2005. I sold quite a few. After that I made the occasional one when I had a good idea but in 2012 I was determined to put on a grand show so I made replicas of some that I had previously sold, plus some new ones, bringing my collection then to over 30. I opened my house during the August Bank holiday weekend and we were pleased to see so many interested visitors. We have had an Open House several times since then with additions to the collection each year, and again lots of visitors. I now have over 90 automata in my collection, each unique and to my own design. I reckon that I have the largest collection of automata by one maker anywhere! I no longer sell the automata or mechanical models but I just like to display them at exhibitions or at my Open House weekends.
I am often asked if I was an engineer by trade, but no, I haven't had any formal training - just started making simple things and learnt as I went along, but I am a member of the Bentley Wildlife Carvers where like-minded people share ideas and woodworking tips.