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Various Artists

In The Grain

01 April 2021 - 24 April 2021

This April, The Gallery brings together several artists whose practice is immersed in making furniture, sculpture and objects from wood. In the Grain will help us welcome Spring to The Gallery as we recognise the richness and diversity of artworks made in wood.

Exhibiting artists include: Gary Allson, Anthony Bryant, Ash & Plumb, Lizzie Farey, Richard Goldsworthy, Owen Jones, Adrian McCurdy, Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley, Angus Ross, Edward Teasdale, The Tim Stead Trust, Tim Willey.

Craftsmanship is key; each artists’ technical genius and understanding of the medium comes from deep, personal engagement with sustainability and the environment. The Gallery will be filled with examples from familiar and current artists alongside emerging talent. From Scotland, we are delighted to showcase the furniture of Angus Ross, who has a studio and workshop in Perthshire, and Adrian McCurdy, who is based in the Scottish Borders. We have an enigmatic hazel sculpture by Lizzie Farey who lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway. In the Grain also pays tribute to the late Tim Stead (1952-2000) and we are delighted to be showing the magnificent King Chair, 1985, in The Gallery. From the rest of the UK, we have examples by artists The Gallery has represented over several decades, including the eminent furniture makers and sculptors Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley, alongside Edward Teasdale’s chests, made from reclaimed wood. We are delighted to be able to include an example of Anthony Bryant’s outstanding woodturning. New to The Gallery are Barnaby Ash and Dru Plumb, who together are known as Ash & Plumb. Based in Brighton, they have given us a beautiful series of hand turned vases. We are also taking this opportunity to present Tim Willey’s sustainable carved wooden vessels. Welcome to the warmth and humanity of In The Grain.

Gary Allson

Meet the Artist

Gary Allson designs and makes hand turned wooden bowls and plates. The work is made in his studio in Cornwall using locally sourced sustainable timber: oak, beech, cherry and ash. Following traditional techniques the work focuses on elemental forms with natural surface finishes and a contemporary identity.

MA Graduate of RCA, Gary assisted Anthony Gormley in the making of Angel of the North, as well as working on projects for Raffo Design Associates, Granada TV (Richard and Judy), Roger Taylor (of rock band Queen), BBC2 Windfall Films, comedians Bill Bailey and Sean Lock, and Habitat. Gary is a lecturer at University College Falmouth and continues to develop his digital work from his studio.

‘I design and make hand turned wooden bowls, plates. The work is made in Cornwall from locally sourced sustainable timber. Using traditional techniques the work focuses on elemental forms with natural surface finishes and a contemporary identity.’ – Gary Allson

Gary is part of our current group exhibition, In the Grain, which runs until 24th April at The Scottish Gallery.

Anthony Bryant

Meet the Artist

Born: 1960
Place of Birth: Ashton, Cornwall

Anthony Bryant is internationally recognised for his unsurpassed work in ‘green’ woodturning. He creates work which stretches the potential of the material to its furthest limits – both in scale and in his unrivalled ability to turn to an absolutely breathtaking thinness. Anthony turns over the space of a few days using hand-made tools, before leaving it to dry as it warps into its eventual shape. Anthony only uses English wood, such as an oak or ash, for their unique aesthetic and materiality.

‘I am not concerned with function in my work. Instead, I prefer to explore the sculptural potential of the vessel at the physical limits of woodturning. My driving aim is to create powerful forms with poise and presence’ – Anthony Bryant.

Selected public collections:

The Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia; The Arts Council of Wales; Liverpool Museum and Art Gallery; The Museum of Ulster; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Crafts Council; The Contemporary Art Museum, Honolulu

Anthony’s work was exhibited within In the Grain, April 2021 at The Scottish Gallery and will be the subject of a soo exhibition in September 2022.

Ash & Plumb

Meet the Artist

Ash & Plumb was created by design duo Barnaby Ash and Dru Plumb, born of a desire to honour naturally sustainable materials; crafting unique and functional works that breathe life into the living spaces they inhabit.

‘In an increasingly mass-produced culture, we have decided to walk a different path; paying tribute to traditional craft in a modern context we realise classically formed pieces that allow the natural beauty of the material to shine. We consider ourselves editors not creators of nature’s finest work. For this new collection, we wanted to symbolise the strength that comes with a diverse and physically connected community; communities that we have all been so starved of in recent times and yet are so essential to our sense of belonging and support systems. Each piece we have created is unique in character and form whilst bearing a familial aesthetic that brings them together, celebrating the magnificent diversity within our native hardwoods that mirrors that of our own human counterparts.’ – Ash & Plumb

Ash & Plumb’s work was exhibited within In the Grain, April 2021 at The Scottish Gallery and we welcomed their first solo exhibition with The Gallery in December 2021 – Archetypes.

Lizzie Farey

Meet the Artist

Born: 1962

Lizzie trained in fine art and stained glass before turning to basketry in 1991, learning the first steps from her sister-in-law in North Wales. She planted a field of willow cuttings and her passion for working with natural materials began. Always keen to try new approaches to this traditional craft Lizzie gradually gained a strong reputation for her simple innovative forms, especially the spheres often decorated with catkins or pussy willow.

A cover article in Crafts Magazine in 1997 helped establish Lizzie’s career in Britain and abroad – especially in the U.S. where she started selling her work at Browngrotta Arts. This, in turn, led to numerous awards and offers to show her work in Sotheby’s New York, SOFA Chicago, The V & A London etc. In 2004 Lizzie won the BBC Homes & Antiques ‘Talent around Britain’ award, voted for by the public and sponsored by John Lewis.

In 2007 Lizzie received the Creative Development Award from the Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) allowing her to pursue her new interest in ‘willow wall drawings’. These new pieces were exhibited in a solo exhibition at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre in 2010 and a large piece was commissioned for their stairwell, spanning two floors.

In July 2011 Lizzie’s willow light installation ‘Heart’ went on permanent display in the newly refurbished National Museum in Edinburgh, and other collections include Priors Court School, Reading; The City Arts Centre, Edinburgh; and The Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead

‘I take my influences from the Galloway countryside where I live and work. I am surrounded by hills, lochs, larch and heather, the essence of which I try to recapture in my work. I grow my willow in nearby farmer’s fields and collect ash and other materials from the hedgerows. My working life is governed by the cycle of nature.
The work leads me and stimulates me at the same time. The pieces that I forge create a sense of spaciousness and take on a life of their own.
I try to express the complex in as simple a way as possible the natural materials often having a quiet and still effect on the viewer.’ – Lizzie Farey, 2012

Richard Goldsworthy

Meet the Artist

Born: 1995
Place of Birth: Macclesfield

Richard Goldsworthy graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a BA (Hons) in Sculpture in 2019. During his studies, Richard was awarded the RSA Barns-Graham Travel Award in May 2019 and completed a residency at Hospitalfields, Arbroath in April 2018. Working mainly with wood, Richard carves, chars, bleaches or casts elements to create highly contrasted objects that are visually intriguing. Charring gives the wood a denser, deeper texture beyond its basic colour and contrasts with any metal inclusions, which Richard casts into the wood, as well as with the natural grain and colour of the wood itself.

‘The exploration and transformation of material has always been a crucial part of my practice. Growing up in the British countryside, I have always been drawn to nature to source the materials I work with. From this ongoing relationship I have developed my study of wood and its intrinsic qualities, as well as its behaviour when acted upon through man-made materials and tools. This juxtaposition, both enhances and transforms the natural beauty of the materials I work with. My aim as an artist is to show off these natural materials and to guide the viewer back to these resources and the meditative power of nature we tap into when confronted by it.

The process of making, for example, the selection and seasoning of the wood, as well as working with it, is as important to me as the object itself. This gives me an intimate understanding of each work, allowing me to demonstrate the different ways in which a material can be looked at and used. By burning, carving and casting the wood, I create contrasting patterns that highlight and transform the shape and surface. I choose to celebrate the defects created by these actions such as my markings, and expose the ones caused by nature such as knots, cracks and ageing. Setting metal into the wood has the potential to create a friction between these two polar materials; yet aesthetically, it appears harmonious as a single object. The alchemical quality of this fusion is solidified, for me, by the casting process, in which the metal roots into the wood, similar in which a tree root takes to the soil.’ – Richard Goldsworthy.

Richard Goldsworthy presented a new selection of work in July 2020 – Wood, Metal & Fire and his work was also exhibited within In the Grain, April 2021.

Owen Jones

Meet the Artist

Born: 1959
Place of Birth: Cumbria

Owen Jones MBE lives and works in Cumbria and has been making traditional oak swills and baskets since 1988.

“I was taught to make swills in 1988 by a retired ‘Swiller’ from Broughton-in-Furness, called John Barker. John had served his time in a 1930’s swill shop and when I met him he was one of the last swillers from that generation who were still making them. Now there is no one left alive from that era and I feel very privileged to have been taught by John, to have learnt from within the tradition and to now continue a local trade which has remained largely unchanged for centuries. When I first started I was supplied my oak and hazel by a local coppice man, Bill Hogarth, who was reliable, knew what I wanted and became a good friend. Bill was the last true coppice merchant in this area and after he died I had to source my own wood and so for the last 17 years I have been coppicing in the local Rusland valley. When I learnt the trade, I just caught the tail end of their previous uses and sold to farmers and industries e.g a snuff factory. However this market soon dried up and so from the early days I travelled countrywide to demonstrate and sell at fairs and shows. From selecting and felling the oak, through to completing the swill, all is done by my hand.”

Owen exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

Adrian McCurdy

Meet the Artist

Adrian McCurdy has worked with wood since an early age. With a background in Fine Art, Adrian’s career moved first from painting to a development of unique wood-skills in furniture and more recently carved panels. From his workshop in the Scottish Borders, Adrian produces furniture using quality local timber and craft techniques both long established and contemporary, often working with storm damaged wood felled by local saw-mills.

‘In most cases I use wood from trees that have come to the end of their life. When a suitable log catches my eye, I’ve had it cut to length and delivered to my work place. Not shopping for ‘planked-timber’ means I can be resourceful with nail-impregnated hedge-trees or the occasional lightening struck park-tree. Storm damage is the norm as large trees become more susceptible to losing major limbs. Bigger trees offer the greater possibilities and are surprisingly less wasteful than smaller trees. Quite simply there is less wastage (unless there happens to be a hidden knot inside).

I like to treat each piece as a sculptural exercise with the permutations seemingly endless as to what to use and how it might best combine with other components. Leg shapes combined with top or seat is an obvious case. The shapes collected (over many years) set the boundary of possibilities.’ – Adrian McCurdy, 2021

Adrian’s work featured in the group exhibition, In the Grain, April 2021 at The Scottish Gallery.

Click here to find out more about Adrian’s new work from 2021 in our dedicated blog.

Born: 1953

Jim Partridge studied at John Makepeace’s Parnham House School for Craftsmen in Wood in the 1970s, whilst Liz Walmsley’s first professional life in the crafts was in the world of ceramics. Since 1986 the couple have worked together designing and making furniture, with the exception of the vessels which remain solely Jim’s domain. They both live and work together in Oswestry, in Shropshire near the Welsh border.

Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley are and have been associated with The Scottish Gallery since the early 1990’s. Their partnership has worked successfully on many architectural projects and environmental commissions. Their studio furniture, much of which is carved from blocks of green oak, often scorched and polished to a lustrous black finish, is in public collections across the world. They have always said that their intention was to make “work with a strong but quiet presence in the landscape”.

Public Collections include:

The Crafts Council; Contemporary Arts Society; The Victoria & Albert Museum; Manchester Art Gallery; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The British Council; Kyoto Museum of Modern Art, Japan; Boston Museum of Fine Art, USA.

Public projects include work for:

Grizedale Forest, Common Ground; The Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight; The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal; Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford; The Welcome Trust; Sustrans, “Qube” gallery, Oswestry; Compton Verney Arts Trust; Edinburgh Botanic Gardens; Ruthin Craft Centre and RHS Wisley.

Jim and Liz were shortlisted for the LOEWE Craft Prize 2019 and exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

Jim and Liz are part of our current group exhibition, In the Grain, which runs until 24th April at The Scottish Gallery.

Angus Ross

Meet the Artist

Born: 1963
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Angus Ross transforms trees into elegant furniture. He is best known as a designer and maker of exquisite, sculptural furniture with a sense of movement and flow. He has been innovating with wood for almost thirty years and remains curious about the possibilities of our local timber. As a maker, Angus draws on wood-work traditions from across the globe and combines ancient steam-bending of green wood with traditional cabinet-making and contemporary digital cutting to develop the craft of woodwork.

Angus was born in Edinburgh in 1963, but grew up near Inverness. He returned to Edinburgh to study and graduated from Napier University in 1985. He then moved to London where many of his designs were mass produced for brands such as Mothercare and Glaxo Smith Kline. After becoming disillusioned designing mass manufactured plastic products, and wanting to use his hands to make low volume, highly valued furniture and objects in wood, he retrained in practical furniture making at Rycotewood College, Oxfordshire graduating in 1992.

Public collections include: V&A Dundee, Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Awards include: Walpole Crafted, Scottish Arts Council, Arts and Business Award and nominated four times for TRADA Wood Awards best bespoke furniture design.

Angus exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019 and In the Grain, April 2021. Angus is part of our current group exhibition, In the Grain, which runs until 24th April at The Scottish Gallery.

Edward Teasdale

Meet the Artist

Born: 1945
Place of Birth: Lake District, England

Edward Teasdale appeared on the UK craft scene in the 1980’s at a time when ‘creative salvage’, ‘recycling’, and wider environmental issues were having a strong influence on design theory and practice. His forms and construction make common reference to a rationale of both formality and utility while the individuality of each piece comes from interplay of scale, proportion and sculptural detail. In contrast to his pared down and refined approach to design, the wood selected; processes used; and the finishes created do not aim for the perfectly controlled appearance of machine production but accentuate much of the rawness and weathering of the reclaimed natural material used. Teasdale received a National Diploma in Design (Furniture/Interior) in 1965 from Newcastle-upon-Tyne College of Art and a Master of Arts (Art and Design Education) from Manchester Polytechnic in 1984.

‘I was born and raised in England’s ‘Lake District’, in a place where you could feel almost smothered by the proximity of mountains, woodlands and water in all its forms (lakes, tarns, rivers, streams and lots of rain). As I remember it my childhood environment was pretty much devoid of any sophisticated culture. I spent all of my time outdoors building mossy dens in dark pine forests, light filled tree houses in deciduous woodlands and erecting improbable floating structures and bridges to explore the watery landscape. All the time using whatever was available to hand. My eyes and hands were the font of my practical education, noting the characteristics of every fence, stile and farm building as I was allowed to freely roam the largely empty countryside. My aesthetic sensibilities evolved through constant awareness and close examination of trees, rocks, cliffs and the ever changing light and surfaces of hillside, lake and sky. I devoted my adult life to adult education, simply sharing my love of everyday things; natural materials, visual beauty, practical skills and personal creativity. In my midlife crisis I determined I could probably better express my joy of things through making some of my own objects, rather than assisting others whose focus anyway seemed increasingly on academic rather than artistic issues. Now I find I’ve come full circle, sure, I now have knowledge, experience and interests in many things, some sophisticated, but I’m happiest outdoors among nature or in my workshop making useful things out of the elemental materials I stumble across.’ – Edward Teasdale, 2019

Edward exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019 and also In the Grain, in April 2021at The Scottish Gallery.

The Tim Stead Trust

Meet the Artist

The Tim Stead Trust has sought to save the home, ‘The Steading’ in The Scottish Borders, of the eminent sculptor and artist Tim Stead (1952– 2000). Established in 2015, it’s aim is to raise enough funding to purchase The Steading, and the Tim Stead Archive, and then to safeguard its future for the nation as an influential and internationally significant example of Scottish craftsmanship and environmental philosophy, all for the benefit of local, national and international communities.

Tim Stead, MBE, was a sculptor, wood artist, furniture designer and maker, photographer, poet, environmentalist, and out-of-the-box thinker. Tragically, he died in 2000 aged only 48. In his all-too-short life, he made furniture for galleries, castles, cathedrals and even for Pope John Paul II for his visit to the UK, yet it was the intuitive, untutored response of ordinary people that most excited Tim. People delighted in his work’s warm honesty and they wanted to live with it. Amongst his most well-loved public works are the interior of Café Gandolfi in Glasgow, the Millennium Clock in Edinburgh and the Oil Industry Memorial Chapel in Aberdeen. Born in Helsby, Cheshire, the youngest of four brothers, Stead was a natural anarchist and a sociable loner. Though rebellious at boarding school, The Leys in Cambridge, he achieved first-class honours in fine art at Trent Polytechnic through a clarity of vision and a passionate dedication to unfashionably palpable, narrative work. There Stead discovered wood with the unstinting support of technician Frank Lindlay. In 1975, Stead did postgraduate work at the School of Art in Glasgow, where he met his life partner, Maggy Lenert, a student from Luxembourg, the day before she was about to leave Scotland.

The Trust wants to use the unique asset of The Steading and its collections as the hub for a Centre for Wood Culture that will build on Tim’s vision and offer the real potential for a sustainable future to support the buildings, the collection, and community-facing activities in the longer-term. The aims of the Tim Stead Trust are to make The Steading and its contents, including the archive works of Tim Stead, accessible to the public and researchers. To provide educational activities that will interpret Tim Stead’s furniture, sculpture, philosophy and poetry. To provide an environment that will encourage wood working skills and enable other artists to flourish. And, to organize workshops that encourage environmental awareness and the artistic use of wood in all its guises. The Trust has generously lent us the King Chair to exhibit as part of our In the Grain exhibition. To find out more about The Tim Stead Trust please join our online events programme this April.

The Tim Stead Trust is part of our current group exhibition, In the Grain, which runs until 24th April at The Scottish Gallery.

Tim Willey

Meet the Artist

Tim Willey is a sculptor, craftsman and applied ecologist. He established his own practice in the North Norfolk countryside, where he manages 12 acres of mixed woodland. This provides him with a continuous supply of sustainable materials and a perfect working environment, which he happily shares with numerous species of birds, mammals and insects. Tim is an active researcher in adaptive construction, open-fired ceramics and experimental archaeology and runs regular practical workshops, often in collaboration with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, where he can share his knowledge and enthusiasm with others.

‘It is important that my work reacts to the material situation at hand, rather than being the result of an inwardly conceived idea. I like to follow a cyclical and rather seasonal pattern of working; from the planting of trees to the harvesting and processing of timber, and finally through to constructing, which might involve, cleaving, turning, carving, or indeed any action which seems appropriate.’ – Tim Willey

Tim was part of our group exhibition, In the Grain, in April 2021 at The Scottish Gallery.

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