“Daybed with Nine Split Figurines”
 
old oak, oak lath, paint
“Bench with Three Red Goddesses”
 
old oak, paint

 

“Bench with Three Red Goddesses”
 
I wanted to make a heavy structure which didn’t immediately look like a seat; and in which the timbers seemed to have been joined and overlapped for the sake of it, not just for functional reasons. The back didn’t need to be this big, but had to be, given the size of its selected components: the back uprights are two halves of an old oak barn beam; the top rail is a crudely sawn piece of cill whose notches seemed to invite connections of some kind being made there. I omitted arms to save time, to see if the thing would be stable enough without them, and so that it could be approached from the sides or lain down on (hence also the new oak seat boards left long). I had intended to cut the four leaning uprights horizontal at ground level once it was pegged together, but liked the effect (heels dug in) so left them.
The red figures represent a cross between the outline of an elongated terracotta figurine found in a Moldavian cemetery (dated 4000 B.C.) and the shapes of three friends of mine.
 

 

“Big Daybed with Dancing Figures”
 
old oak, seasoned oak, elm
“Bench for the King and His Concubine”
 
old oak, elm, denuded steel wire

 

“Bench for the King and His Concubine”
 
When I made this bench it was the biggest thing I had made up to that point: I had to make alterations to my original studio (crumbling garden shed to be honest) in order to accommodate it. The oak timbers for the back were old fencing posts which I liked because of their big mortices, empty save for the odd rusty nail and the rectangles of light and colour framed there. I also liked them because if I remember rightly I didn’t have anything else to use. Necessity.
The pattern of denuded fencing wires, adapted from an idea I’d used first in Selene’s Bench, which is another story, is suggestive to me of vessels, or of arms reaching up and out.
 

 

“Bench with Three Bathers Bathing”,
 
for Bridget McCrum
Concept Design for Figurative Bench with Integral Foot-rest, for The Tarka Trail,
 
old oak, green oak, elm
“Braced Structure with Warped Top”
 
old oak, denuded steel wire, paint
“Seat for The Lover of Ferns”
 
old oak, elm, denuded steel wire

 

“Seat for The Lover of Ferns”
 
This bench owes its existence to the eventual collapse of an oak gate or two, and me being obsessed with relics such as the back rail with its rusty ringed bolt, and four disused mortices which I imagined small ferns might grow well in. I picture it couched in a mossy place, invaded by ivy and foxgloves – either that, or in a quiet cloistered walkway, the wirework casting fine shadows on stone.
The seat height (22”) was dictated by technical things like where it was and wasn’t possible to form sound joints; and anyway it is good to sit higher up than normal sometimes: it can induce senses of calm, giggling, etc.
 

 

“Bench with Three Figures Attendant”
 
old oak, denuded steel wire
“Bench with Blue Crowns”
 
old oak, elm, paint, denuded steel wire
“Occasional Bench with Deep Slits”
 
old oak, elm, denuded steel wire, paint
“Bench with Three Primitive Figures”
 
old oak, denuded steel, paint

 

“Bench with Three Primitive Figures”
 
The main timbers are old defunct fencing posts from a clifftop field and bear beautiful evidence of sculpting by sea winds and sun and rain. One of them had to be handled especially carefully while being worked on so that its fragile lichens remained intact. The back rail with the oval holes came from a farm near Banbury; the deeply fissured front rail was found in the undergrowth on an ancient hill fort site not far from our Hartland home. The shape of the whitened figures is based on that of some recently visited Celtic stone crosses – they have witnessed much, and radiate a potent stillness.