Brought up in a rural village in Wales, Eleanor Lakelin worked on educational projects in Europe and West Africa before retraining as a cabinet-maker in 1995. Since 2011 she has concentrated on the vessel form, studying with established makers whenever possible but largely teaching herself to hollow and carve works of increasing scale and ambition. Her sculptural objects are created using a traditional woodworking lathe and centuries-old chisels and gouges alongside modern carving techniques.
Eleanor works only with trees grown in Britain, felled due to decay. A deep knowledge and a passionate interest in the natural properties of wood result in forms that seem true to the spirit of the material and which encourage us to look at the complexities of nature with a new perspective. Her work is rooted in the rhythm of growth, the eroding power of the elements and the passing of time. Material is transformed into objects that invite touch and reflection, reminding us of our elemental and emotional bond with wood and our relationship to the earth.
Eleanor’s work is exhibited internationally and included in prestigious museum and private collections. She is the recipient of notable awards and commendations including a QEST Scholarship 2018, British Wood Award 2017 (Bespoke category), Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize 2014 (nomination) and The Cockpit Arts / Worshipful Company of Turners Award 2011.
‘I build up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting which reference patterns and lines in landscape and nature. By working to different depths within the piece and then sandblasting through another layer, a moving, sinuous pattern is created which speaks of natural movement – of wind, sand, rhythm, flow and of time. By sandblasting across the surface, the lighter wood can be blasted away – a kind of speeded-up erosion. Time is etched into the fibres of the material.’ Eleanor Lakelin, 2019.
Eleanor exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.