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 18 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 800 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 made a couple of mechanical models in 1997 and some more a few years later and put on a show during Art Wave 2005. I sold quite a few. Since then I have 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 to over 30. I opened my house during the August Bank holiday weekend and we were pleased to see so many interested visitors. We opened again at the same time in 2013 and 2015 with additions to the collection each year, and again lots of visitors. I now have around 50 automata in my collection, each unique and to my own design. I no longer sell the mechanical models I have made but do occasionally accept commissions for copies, providing I have the time available.
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.