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Wood

3 April 2019 - 28 April 2019

This April we present Wood – an exhibition showcasing a number of artists who primarily use wood to make beautiful, sensitive and expressive work. Wood includes examples of bespoke furniture, sculptural vessels, boxes, traditional basket weaving and metalwork. The exhibition explores traditional hand craft skills and modern techniques juxtaposed with some antique works brought together by The Thrie Estaits.

Exhibiting artists include: Roger Bennett, Anthony Bryant, Martin Cook, Roland Fraser, Hans-Henning Pedersen, Kathryn Hinton, Andrew Holmes, Owen Jones, Eleanor Lakelin, Grant McCaig, Alan Meredith, Lawrence Neal (Marchmont House), Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley, David Robinson, Angus Ross and Edward Teasdale.

The Thrie Estaits was an emporium of wonders set up by Peter Powell in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, the shop on Dundas Street in the heart of the New Town, was a treasure trove of the eclectic, the beautiful and the quirky.

The Thrie Estaits was an emporium of wonders. Set up by Peter Powell in Edinburgh in the early 1980s, the shop on Dundas Street in the heart of the New Town, was a treasure trove of the eclectic, the beautiful and the quirky. It was hard to find a shop like it, and for nearly forty years it was the go-to for extraordinary works of art. He is now a freelance specialist in the decorative arts. Peter trained in silversmithing at Glasgow School of Art in the late 1960s and after graduating worked at Elders in Charing Cross, Glasgow.

Born: 1953
Place of Birth: County Laois

Roger Bennett specialises in making distinctive thin-walled bowls and vessels in wood, which he then colours with wood dyes and inlays with precious metals. His preferred wood is sycamore – the paleness making it an excellent canvas for colouring. Roger inlays the forms by filling hundreds of individually drilled holes with dots of silver wire. The patterns range from flowing spiral lines to tight geometric shapes.

Originally from County Laois, Roger lives and works in Dublin. A former teacher, Roger has a degree in English and French from Trinity College Dublin. He is also a graduate of the Crafts Council of Ireland’s Craft and Design Business Development Course.

Roger’s work has featured in numerous exhibitions in Ireland, Britain, France and the USA; he has shown at SOFA New York, SOFA Chicago and CraftBoston. Examples of his work feature in many public and private collections, including those of the National Museum of Ireland, the Ulster Museum, the OPW, and the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Roger Bennett will be exhibiting in our Wood exhibition, 03 – 27 April 2019.

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

Born: 1958

Martin Cook comes from a family of carvers dating back to 1730 and is based in Buckinghamshire. All of his work is individually designed and hand crafted using traditional tools. He approaches new pieces of work by hand drawing on board and then, using his knowledge of historical letterforms and calligraphy, creates a unique design that is then hand carved into natural British stone or wood using a hammer and chisel. Recent commissions include carved lettering for The Reading Room of The British Museum.

‘The love of art and good craftsmanship has run through my veins all my life. I drew from the moment I could pick up a pencil and have found no reason so far to stop.’ – Martin Cook

The family tradition continues with Martin’s son Matthew who has been an integral party of the workshop for the past three years.

Martin exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

Born: 1968
Place of Birth: Bridge of Allan

Roland Fraser’s pieces are created entirely from salvaged wood and relief panels and are a combination of marquetry, cabinet making and assemblage. Roland attended St. Andrews University from 1986 to 1990 where he studied Philosophy and Art History before setting up his workshop in 1995 where he both creates his own artworks and teaches woodwork. Roland has exhibited regularly in Scotland and has works in numerous private collections worldwide.

‘My wooden constructions are a synthesis of assemblage, collage and traditional craftsmanship. Timber is culled from old furniture carcasses, farm buildings and skips. I select pieces that have an accumulation of surface markings and general evidence of human traffic. Traces from missing locks, hinges and structural joints also have a particular resonance for me as they refer to previous incarnations. This visceral combination of wear and history imbues the material with an almost totemic quality. The titles of each work refer to the various locations where the fragments used in the work were found, as in ‘Prestongrange’ and ‘Longthorne’. In some of my pieces, the connection between the place and the mood of my work is significant, in others it is more arbitrary. The splicing and editing of original patinated surfaces to create a re-contextualised single entity throws up serious formal challenges. As a musician, these dynamics of rhythm, tension and discord are familiar territory.’ – Roland Fraser.

Roland’s work will be exhibited in our Wood exhibition, 03 – 27 April 2019.

Born: 1950
Place of Birth: Bornholm, Denmark

Hans-Henning Pedersen was born in 1950 on the island Bornholm in Denmark, where he still lives. He has been working as a carpenter, cabinetmaker and wood-turner since 1975.

“Overall, I think ‘Mother Nature’ is the greatest designer. But, we people love getting involved, so I always try to show the material as much respect as possible. After turning it on a lathe, the wood then dries and decides the shape it is going to take. As the water from the wood evaporates, there is a lot of stress changes, which can result in fantastic shapes!”

Hans’ work has featured in numerous exhibitions in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Dubai and the USA. He has shown at Collect, SOFA Chicago, SOFA New York, Design Days Dubai and many more.

Hans-Henning exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

Born: 1981

Merging traditional ideas with digital technology, Kathryn Hinton’s faceted silverware and jewellery explore form and surface using computer aided design software. The ability to use technology as a tool to design and also as a method of manufacture has shaped the style of her work. The pieces are designed in a computer aided design programme to achieve the faceted forms and realised in silver using processes such as Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling and press forming. Kathryn’s new range of jewellery uses digital engraving combined with traditional enamel to create bold and graphic pieces.

Kathryn was awarded a first class degree in goldsmithing at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in 2003 and was Artist in Residence in the Jewellery & Silversmithing Department in Edinburgh, 2012. She now lives and works in Edinburgh. She has received a number of awards for her work, including the Gold Award for Craftsmanship & Design from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

Public Collections include:
The Goldsmiths’ Company, London; Crafts Council, London; The Aberdeen Medico-Chirurgical Society.

Born: 1955
Place of Birth: Oxfordshire

Andrew Holmes furniture invites involvement and interaction from the viewer; opening doors, drawers and unfolding parts.

While Andrew Holmes’s work fits in with today’s environmental concerns and the obvious benefits of recycling, his influences forty years ago were artists who used found materials for their intrinsic qualities. His materials are carefully chosen for their colour and provenance, and relevance to the piece being constructed. Coming to Stoke on Trent in 1974, Andrew Holmes found a cornucopia of material in the slum clearance areas where nineteenth century workers’ houses were being demolished. He uses the inherent qualities of this material to make assemblages and constructions – totems and cupboards which are warm memorials to the past. His pieces always invite involvement from the spectator with their opening doors, drawers and folding parts.

Born: 1959
Place of Birth: Cumbria

‘From selecting and felling the oak, through to completing the swill, all is done by my hand and so to complete the final link and meet the customer is most rewarding.’ Owen Jones

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.’

Born: 1960
Place of Birth: Llandrindod Wells, Wales

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.

Born: 1974

“Working in silver is inspiring and creative, technical and expressive. Using the traditional techniques of the silversmith as my foundation. I build pieces that explore the relationship between functionality and self expression. I want my work to be individual in design and concept and give pleasure to the user. There is something magical about this material. When it arrives in the brown paper and card board packaging, which is promptly unwrapped and examined, a voyage of discovery begins. I have never once looked at a sheet of silver and thought nothing of it. My mind skips to the possibilities and the ideas that I originally purchased the metal for tend to pale in the face of the endless possibilities that lie before me. Soft and rounded, or crisp with sharp edges and plain bold surfaces! Silver, you will find, can do it all.” – Grant McCaig

Public Collections include:

Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen; National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh; The Goldsmiths’ Company, London; Incorporation of Goldsmiths, Edinburgh; Bute House Collection, Edinburgh; and Birmingham Museums and Art Galleries.

Grant McCaig’s jewellery collection can be viewed here.

Grant presented a solo exhibition Ovalis in September 2021 and exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

Born: 1991
Place of Birth: Laois, Ireland

Alan’s work to date straddles the boundaries of contemporary craft, sculpture and architecture and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Graduating with a Masters in Architecture from University College Dublin in 2015, Alan currently works from his studio in County Laois, imagining and creating one of a kind and speculative pieces for both public and private clients. Completed projects include; one of a kind furniture, public space design, and a collection of sculptural wood-turned vessels.

Selected awards:
Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur; DCCOI – Future Maker of the Year; The RDS Craft Award; Tresor-Discovery Award

Selected exhibitions:
Maison et Objet, Paris, France; Venice Biennale, Italy; TRESOR Contemporary Craft, Basel, Switzerland

Alan Meredith exhibited in our Wood exhibition, April 2019.

The Scottish Gallery is delighted to have partnered with Marchmont House, who are currently championing the work of Lawrence Neal who makes traditional rush seated chairs, a village craft that was founded by Ernest Gimson. Marchmont house, situated in the Scottish Borders, is about to undertake a programme of furniture apprenticeships.

“I fell in love with the Ernest Gimson’s Bedales Library and its chairs over 20 years ago when I bought six Bedales chairs from Lawrence Neal in 1994. Much more recently, I have been working with Lawrence Neal, who continues to make rush seated chairs today in a 100 year tradition from Ernest Gimson, still using Gimson’s tools. We now have apprentices working directly with Lawrence before moving the whole workshop up to Marchmont House stables in Berwickshire to let Lawrence retire and take the business forwards within a charitable structure. The business will generate a good living and offers the opportunity to grow and evolve, with an incredible lineage, using the actual tools of Ernest Gimson from Daneway – one of Britain’s greatest architect designers and pioneers of The Arts and Crafts Movement.” Hugo Burge, Marchmont House, 2019.

This exhibition will feature a historical example of a rush seated chair from the 1940s – the Clisset no.2b Armchair by Edward Gardiner and a contemporary exmaple form Laurence Neal – the Bedales Armchair. Lawrence has been making rush-seated chairs by hand for over 50 years, using rushes from the local river and material from nearby ash woodlands in his native Warwickshire. He is the fifth chair maker in an 128-year tradition which began in 1890 when the Arts and Crafts architect-designer Ernest Gimson learnt to make chairs from an elderly Herefordshire chair-maker named Philip Clissett, keeping a dying craft alive. Edward Gardiner, and Lawrence’s father Neville were the third and fourth makers in the tradition. Today, Lawrence makes chairs in the traditional way of his predecessors.

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.

Born: 1955
Place of Birth: Taunton, Somerset

Based in Scotland, David Robinson trained as a landscape architect but since the mid-1990s has mainly focused on fine quality woodworking.

“I carve principally in Scottish hardwoods – finding extra dimensions for expression amongst its dramatic grain feature – and often incorporate my sculptural work into pieces of furniture that I build in my East Lothian workshop. Most of my carving is of wildlife, but I have also created landscapes, flowers and plants, street scenes, boats and cars.”

David’s work has featured in many exhibitions such as at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

David will be exhibiting in our Wood exhibition, 03 – 27 April 2019.

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.

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 2021 at The Scottish Gallery.


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