3D Wood – Nick Speakman

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Sept 2013

My next big calendar point for me is the Royal Berkshire Show, 21-22nd September, where I show and sell a selection of carvings, also collaborating with Rob Dyer from Treet.

Nick Speakman, Carver and SculptorI have been booked for two pumpkin carving events this year, also our first pumpkin carving commission for Halloween on a river boat restaurant Showboat, on the Thames near Marlow, who will be displaying several gruesome carved heads as table pieces!

Private commissions, stump jobs and exciting community projects continue to come in to keep me busy, so I have plenty to be thankful for with great support from family and friends around. Keep an eye on my site for new work or check out (and like!) my facebook page where you’ll see even more of my work.

Kent Sculpture trail project

Nick Speakman, Tree and Stump Chainsaw CarverI was asked way back in March 2012, to look at designing four sculptures for a project with the Woodland Trust for the Hucking estate in Kent: it was to be part of a land scape walk with pieces needing to be sensitive to the history of the area and also blend into to the land to help encourage tourism. I worked with the Trust on design and I have just completed the sculptures on time and budget.

They were installed mid July 2013, and are there to be visited by anyone. Check the Woodland Trust website for details. This project was another great collaboration with Rob Dyer from Treet . It was both challenging and a steep learning curve.

What a year!

As the work of 3dwood spreads throughout the south of England with public & private commissions in Essex, Berkshire, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Somerset and pieces being sent to Scotland and shipped abroad to Gibraltar, we continue to go from strength to strength.

This year has seen a new website constructed by a gem of a find, Lyndsay Moon, who worked with us remotely to understand our vision and needs then produced a fresh look for us and we thank her for all her efforts and guidance.

As well as lots of small commissions that allow me to develop as a sculptor I am enjoying the development and process of taking on bigger projects. I got a call back in February from the head grounds man at South Hill Park in Bracknell, Berkshire. I was invited to put forward a proposal to restore two large wooden sculptures that where carved in the 1980`s and were in need of restoration. Our proposal was accepted over other national companies and work got underway in May this year. Unfortunately they were both beyond repair and I then took on the new challenge of completely renewing both pieces. I collaborated on this project with Diccon Dadey of Dadey Metal Art on this project. The sculptures were installed on time and on budget.

You can view the two sculptures here: Gravity XII and Totem, Angel

Community Project

This year so far has seen a wildlife project in the form of a “memory” totem pole covered in wildlife with space left to attach plaques to commemorate loved ones from the local area.

A sculpted bench was also commissioned to commemorate the Queens Jubilee of 2012, and was undertaken and installed in May from locally sourced western red cedar.

News from Jan/Feb

I was invited by a London designer to work at Chilham Castle, Canterbury Kent to project manage a landscape design, using felled timber from an ancient Oak. I employed Rob Dyer from http://www.alaskanmill.co.uk/ to mill the harvested tree to allow me to carve on site and construct and design a 12 metre arced bench which now takes in the stunning views from the lawn at the castle.

An Olympic standard cross country horse jump was also carved from some of the timber on site.

Stump Jobs

Various onsite carvings have been carried out in customers’ trees and stumps: Oak, Cedar, larch, eucalyptus. Owls are a customer driven reoccurring theme.

April 2012

Back into it now, feathered friends and fish have been carved out of cedar and eucalyptus; both interesting in their own rights, plus had a fantastic weekend of training with Andrew Sinclair at Sculpture School. This is the result of that particular course, finished off at home.

If you work in 3d without a doubt you have to practice drawing, eat, sleep, sculpt, think, take the dog for a walk, eat, sleep, sculpt some more, draw, scratch your head, keep going and  never give up! I heard recently that in Japan it can take fifty years to gain a black belt in karate, in the West it can be achieved in as little as three years ! There tells a tale, perseverance is the key to excellence.

Had a great Easter break in Bude, Cornwall; family, food, exercise, fantastic.

Looking forward to the next couple of months; I have a school project starting next week at a local school collaborating with another artist from Reading, Nick Garnett.  The sculpture is based around a mad scientist who is doing a geology experiment and is building a sculptural wood circle to communicate with outer space: All mind expanding stuff!!

Then I move on to a free form 80ft oak for two weeks to be carved with wildlife figures, and architecture! Wow. Still got lots of work to do towards Open Studios, Aaaghh! My obsession with power tools continues, need more chainsaws as the great Mick Burns once told me  ”you can never have enough saws!”

Finally it’s raining, “hooray”, local rivers & land really needs it, plus my van is actually starting to look like a lump of mud with wheels! Lots of small stuff to do as well: owls, fish, a small super bike and rider, signs. In-between all the Arty stuff trying to make some time to exercise, it really seems to make me feel awake.

One last thing, I will be carving again at the Garden Centre at Stratton, Swindon, on Bank Holiday Monday 7th May, do pop along to say hi.

Woodfest Wales

Chainsaw Carving Woodfest WalesI was invited to carve over the last May Bank Holiday at this annual event, so turned up slightly in awe of the company of carvers I found myself in, and set about setting out my pond scene on to a great piece of brown oak they had provided. By the end of the three days I had carved another frog skating across a pond with fish and dragon fly to-boot, the sculpture sold in the auction on the Bank Holiday Monday which meant I didn’t have to lug it home to Newbury.

March 2012

Ridgway Rendezvous Nick SpeakmanFresh back from The Ridgway Rendezvous:  the largest gathering of chainsaw carvers in the world with 194 carvers from nine countries, held in Ridgway Pennsylvania ,USA.  The event is split between actual carving time, seminars and networking and the sharing of ideas. It was not my first time in America but was my first at the event!

Throughout the event there was everything being carved from animal studies; bears, eagle, snakes, fish, even a full size horse, to human study and fantasy. I chose to carve a cheeky goblin, causing much confusion among the locals, which fetched a fair sum at auction. The event is self-funding with this year’s auction raising $68,900 dollars towards next year’s events cost etc. Well done the Boni family for organising such an amazing gathering.

Whilst in New Jersey, I was lucky enough to have a viewing around a private collection of art-in-the-making; a truly magical experience.  Check it out at www.lunaparc.com . I also made a point of going to the Museum of Modern Art in New York , well worth the trip.

The whole experience has been valuable on many levels: strengthening my desire to pursue my art and experiment with combining my sculpting and joinery skills. Like any coming together of like-minded people, Ridgeway was full of busy people with a lot to do and not enough time to do it, thank s to Facebook I have managed to chat to a few people since the event, also making some useful contacts with a tool supplier State Side.

I leave you with a great thought I heard the other day “It is not the things that my hands make, or  the art that I view, it’s the experiences along my path that drive me!

See the Goblin HERE

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.