I first started whittling with pieces of any old wood when I was about 8 years old and I sold my first piece of art at about 9 years old. This was an old bit of pine wood about 9” square of a simple swift in flight while I sat at the front gate of my house.
A lady came by and asked me how much it cost, I said 2/6p and she said she would have it. That was 1952.
I got better and better at it. I started to go to school and whittle in the playground. You always knew where I was because of the wood chips. I continued to progress and at this time I gave them to family and friends.
When I was about 19 years old and could drive I started to go to fete’s and small markets, progressing to Traction Engine Rally’s where I did very well.
I have specialised in wild life art but have done figures, reliefs of various buildings, and commissioned pieces. The biggest carving was a full sized spread eagle, the smallest a giraffe out of a matchstick. There has been automated figures, for steam organs, entire public house bars carved, to 3 chess sets with pieces, hidden draws, coat of arm laden tables with the black knight as legs. These three ended up in Australia and New Zealand.
I was almost hired by Walt Disney for the film The Black Hole, but they decided my media was not quite what was required in a spaceship.
My son nick says I am very annoying, I can paint, draw, engrave, carve and sculpt. I have worked in metal, stone, glass but my favourite is Yew wood I love the colours.
I got married To Jan, and we continued going to shows and events. As my name became better known and I had some business cards I started to get asked to bigger events such as East of England, Hatfield and Royal shows, where I had television appearances every year. I enjoyed these functions immensely. I have 4 of my carvings were presented to members of the Royal Family including Prince Charles.
I started to teach at Night Schools at two schools in different counties. I ended up teaching 4 evenings a week for 16 years. Shanks and McEwan, asked me to demonstrate at an Environmental show for 4 days.
We then moved to France where we had 10 happy years we also did many shows there, until sadly Jan died. I have had a serious illness which has seen me come to Bristol to live with my son Nick.
And this brings us to the present day.