I exhibit and sell regularly in the UK and the USA and take on commissions from around the world. Most of my work is based on my own photographs but I am happy to consider themes or photographs you let me have. I will let you know whether they will work in wood - quotations and preliminary discussions are free! Each picture takes many hours work and every one is unique, and every stage from design to cutting to laying to finishing is done to the highest standard, ensuring the picture will last a lifetime. In other words they don't come cheap! Most pictures sell in the range of £300 - £1500 depending on the amount of work involved (brooches £30 to £50) so you have been warned! But you are buying a special work of art that nobody else has. The cost includes sanding, sealing and finishing with a polyurethane lacquer which takes a lot of time so would be cheaper if you wanted to arrange your own finish. Please note that I offer discounts for service/ex service members and members of the caring professions. Just to give an example of the wide variety of commissions, recent ones include:
a replica of a vinyl record album
the Itsukushima Shrine in a 3 cm brooch for a Japanese client
a marquetry version of a photo provided by a veteran of the conflict in Iraq
a replica of a photo provided by the client of a man walking in the Lake District
a 450th anniversary large plaque for a grammar school (in collaboration with a wood carver)
a mezuzah case for a synagogue
a whole range of chess boards of different styles and sizes
a calming beach scene for a hospital
and a 24 square foot beach scene for one of my regular clients in Florida.
So - everything from a 3cm brooch to a 20 square foot beach scene - the crazier the request, the more I like it! Here are just a few examples. Please get in touch with any other requests.
This commission is for a client in Australia who plays in a band. He sent his own photograph, which you can see hear and then asked me to do the rest - you can see the result here. The veneer for the shirt is smoked oak which gives a nice material like finish but is very brittle and has lots of of grooves in it, so finishing was a nightmare. Still it worked out in the end.
I have had to wait to reveal my latest commission. This was for the 450th anniversary of Bury Grammar Schools (yes Queen Elizabeth 1 was on the throne when the school opened). I was asked to do a commemorative plaque in marquetry and to then add a carved swan (made by Sarah Goss of sarahgoss.co.uk ) Although I finished before Christmas we had to wait for the 'big reveal'. In the meantime there was a major change. Originally the school asked for the plaque to be attached to a backboard, with gold moulding round the edge. So along with my friends and collaborators at veneeringsolutionsltd.co.uk I produced what you see here. The school then decided they wanted just the plaque, so you see the final result here as well.
I like unusual commissions, so was quite pleased just before Christmas for a request for a trivet and six matching place mats. A trivet is one of those bases you put on the table for pots or casserole dishes etc. They have to be able to resist heat and food and water (and wine) stains, as do the place mats, and of course to look good on the table. For the design I set up a still life of a bowl containing fruit and a smaller one of olives - and of course a glass of wine next to it. I used a heat proof lacquer on the finished piece - having first tested a sample piece with hot water, a boiling pan, and a cup of spilled tea (the last by accident). Success, and one more happy customer - and yes, they did use it on Christmas Day.
This picture is something different in that I have incorporated six miniatures into one picture, to give the impression of a photograph frame. I then cut and laid a pine overpiece to complete the photo frame effect. I took all the photographs in Siesta Key, Florida, the same place I took the photograph for the big beach scene. And I am delighted to say that the same person, Paul Parr, of bought the picture for his other Siesta Key apartment, as soon as it went online!
As a keen chess player I was recently approached by my online club captain with a request close to my heart - a luxury, two tier, championship standard chess board. The dimensions had to be FIDE approved - 5.5 cm squares - and it had to be compatible with a Staunton chess set. I quickly came up with a design and selection of the veneers was easy - birdseye maple and vavona for the squares, ash round the border and ebony to add an extra touch of class. Add a few coats of acrylic lacquer for a hard wearing finish and the job is done! Here is what the final product looks like.
Three years ago I was fortunate to be treated at the famous Christy Hospital in Manchester for Stage 2 and Stage 3 melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The Stage 3 on my abdomen was millimetres away from entering my lungs and brain. Fortunately the skilled treatment was entirely successful and apart from lifelong checkups I am so far in the clear. At my last checkup the consultant was discussing my work and he suggested as payback for my treatment I should do a picture to be displayed in the IPU unit where I was treated. I haven't done a beach scene for a while, but it seemed to me the kind of thing that would be peaceful and calming for patients as they wait for treatment. So here goes, yet another beach scene, small recompense for the gift of life, but hopefully with the desired effect.
I have lost track of the number of chess boards I have been asked to do since the luxury one you can see above - too many to include here! However this one - a practice board for an existing client - is a bit different. She wanted a contemporary look with louder colours so I was happy to oblige with this red and black squared piece.
You never know what commission is just round the corner and this one is no exception! I was asked to do a mezuzah case for a synagogue in Prestwich, Manchester. A mezuzah is a parchment inscribed with religious texts and attached in a case to the doorpost of a Jewish house or synagogue as a sign of faith. There is a groove in the back of the case to house the scroll and a hole through the case for people to see the Hebrew letter 'Shin'. The case is then fixed to a doorpost. I was delighted to do this commission as Prestwich is quite near to Cheetham Hill where I spent a lot of my childhood, in a predominantly Jewish street and when times were had for my Nan and our family we were always well cared for by our neighbours. Thank you in particular to Mrs Meisel and Mrs Berger who made the best chicken soup! The picture below shows the front of the case that everyone sees, the groove on the back, and the tricky job of lining up all the colours and stripes on the sides.
Back in June I did a day workshop in Accrington for the PROSPECTS Foundation, a community owned environmental charity which supports community action for the environment. The day was an amazing success, enthusiastically attended by the wonderfully diverse group of Accrington residents and beyond. My own contribution was to show some pictures and also to create a sign for future Prospect activities, ably assisted by anyone who wanted to contribute to its creation. (I seem to be doing a few signs lately – for indoor or outdoor use - so if you want one doing just let me know!). Here is the finished product and thanks to all who contributed!