3D Wood – Nick Speakman

December 2011

Main big commission for the month was to design and chainsaw carve a 4.6 metre abstract form for a Wetherspoons pub in Stowmarket , Cambridgeshire with a tight deadline of the 23rd December aaagh!!

First thing first, find  a big enough interesting tree, yet again those top guys from EJM tree services came up trumps;  with great skill they managed to take a section of a tree that was being felled anyway out prior to it being dropped with minimal damage: awesome!

As well as the abstract I managed to squeeze in a life sized female nude in a dead standing cherry tree near Reading in Berkshire . How I managed to carve my first ever in situ nude in under three days is a mystery! I felt totally focussed and completely in sync with the job in hand, especially since during the process I enjoyed the stillness of carving alone as the customer wasn’t around .

The Stowmarket abstract flowed well and was finished and installed on time and on budget on the 22rd of December, one day early. Just enough time left to get one last minute Christmas carving in; a small Labrador dog in English oak, a Christmas present commissioned and bound for Dorset, done!

Christmas was never more welcome I was shattered.  Plenty of food , rest, family, and long walks with my dog (Stanley) , batteries recharged.

November 2011

Wow, chainsaws have hardly had a chance to cool down during October. Lots of stump job commissions came out of the Royal Berkshire Show; I have carved a lovely seed pod abstract in Upper Basildon, and a number of large owls here and there, including one near Reading in Spencers Wood.

The next big excitement is a recce trip to the south of France to look at a tree over 100ft tall where someone wants a huge eagle carving. The main priority is to ensure the safety is all sorted so I can work all around the tree with easy movement.

I have been finding that people are very particular about the things they like carved in wood, and have recently had requests for a stork, a cat, a nude and some stampeding horses, all of which are in the pipeline, or scheduled for the next few weeks.

October 2011

Following a successful Royal Berkshire Show in partnership with Ridgeway Group VW, we have also begun a link with the Garden Centre Group, (formerly Wyevale). The first event in this collaboration was a harvest festival at the centre in Stratton St Margaret, Swindon. Their advertising was picked up by BBC Radio Wiltshire, who contacted us for an interview to promote the event in Swindon where I was doing several carving demos during the afternoon. It proved to be an excellent opportunity to steer the public away from the notion of roadside mushroom carving: have a listen: Interview_BBC Wiltshire

Thanks to Mike O’Donnell for a good interview, and listen out for his change of attitude as he calls up the website!

July 2011

Chainsaw CarvingJuly has started with a bang, I was commissioned to design and sculpt two very different pieces for a new Wetherspoons Pub, The Hatchet, opening in Newbury at the end of July. The first is a large oak story telling chair depicting oak leaves and acorns made from one solid lump of oak, complete with hatchet and carved letters; fortunately I had the oak so that made life easy, the chair was started and completed in three days and delivered to site.
The second, and slightly more complicated, is a life sized carving of a traditional woodsman emerging from a cedar tree, designed to celebrate the forestry industry in the Newbury area. I carved the piece in three days and spent a further day sanding.  Here is a write up in the local paper and a quick publicity piece done by Indigo Art.

What else is happening? I recently starting using an Echo 2700 chainsaw, “absolutely awesome” are the only words I can use, lightweight , fantastic vibration damping  and at less than £300, what more can I say! I”ve ordered another one.

Spent the day today mapping out on the year planner the next three months carving and carpentry jobs, looks like a hectic time ahead. Unity (wife /office manager) has also made me take a holiday in August “ is she mad?”, does she not realize they won’t be happy with me revving up my saws on that campsite in Devon????

Royal Berkshire Show planning has started in conjunction with Ridgeway Volkswagen Newbury and it looks like I will be carving some VW classic camper vans for folks to sit on and carving live throughout the show (watch this space).

Also been booked in October to exhibit at the Juice Landscaping Show in Essex so I will be writing a blog on the importance of 3D models, in conjunction with plan and elevation drawings,  to give potential customers another tool in visualizing their future work be it sculpture or Grand Design .

Well here we go into another week, I have a demo lined up next weekend  and a shed load of small sculpture orders to get on with.

June 2011

Has started off with a pace; I have been doing some architectural work with the chainsaw on a barn conversion for a local building developer which has been both fun and challenging.

What else?… carved a rare breed chicken this week for a 50th birthday gift. I think I could be on to something with the chickens as I have just been commissioned to carve three more.

May 2011

The oak abstract has now been installed, and both I and the customer and really pleased with the outcome  – see Gallery.

Woburn Abbey Frog

This year I have been invited by Living Heritage to carve at some of the many craft events that they put on up and down Britain throughout the year. My first event was to be at Woburn Abbey near Milton Keynes. Prior to the event I had decided I would carve a tree frog, I was provided with a 5ft x 3ft butt of turkey oak  to carve over the two day event; the wood was like concrete, but a tree frog was produced.

Sadly, due to poor public attendance at the event, hardly any of the sculptures produced by some of the UK’s best carvers went  unsold and I now have a large tree frog sat in my workshop so  if you would like this sculpture give me a call and make me an offer!

Arundel in April 2011

Well what a fantastic month April has been, My family and I had an awesome weekend in Arundel in Sussex; the Castle is absolutely stunning with the tulips in the gardens in full bloom, the gardens were designed as tribute to Earl Collector and opened by HRH Prince Charles in 2008 and featuring many large wooden sculptures, well worth a look.

Whilst in Sussex we also made the effort to visit the Cass Institute near Goodwood, which is a collection of sculptures from a variety of world renowned sculptors and aspirants , a very unique place a well worth a visit.

Mad March 2011

Oak abstract is now complete and awaiting installation, see below or check out the gallery for all the pictures.

Just been made a offer I couldn’t refuse, my local VW dealership is going to pay for my trade stand at the Royal Berkshire Show in September “woohoo” !!

I am planning four massive sculptures as well as a stack of owls, sheep, a highland cow, loads of chickens,& some signage. So get you diary out, Sept 17th _18th 2011, I will be sited on the VW Ridgeway site which is the largest trade stand at the show so come and see me demo live through out the show weekend. Come and see me and either buy or commission a sculpture, talk about ideas you may have for your garden, home, business, or school. I am still working with clients from last year’s show on a variety of projects.

February 2011 Update – Abstract Time

What with the Royal wedding coming up, it was with great excitement that an offer of a truck load of oak from the village of  Bucklebury,  the home of Kate Middleton, came along. I contracted a local  forester to move the oak to my yard in Hermitage . Part of the 200 year oak tree is going to be formed into a 15ft abstract sculpture mounted on steel and installed as part of a private collection in Hermitage, Berkshire. Can’t wait to get going on that, keep an eye on the “my work” to see the finished product.