John Adamson
Tree Sculptor
11 Palace House Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 6HW UK
National Proficiency Tests Council Certificate No. S52315 for Chain Saw Operation
Public Liability Insurance cover of £2.000.000
Available for Public and Private Commissions, Talks and Demonstrations
Copyright Notice: This website comprises and contains copyright materials. This material may not be copied, downloaded, published, distributed or modified in part or in full. 2007.
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Public Art Gallery of Groups Gallery of Heads  Other work
Hide and Seek, Carved in a Burnley park from a beech stump Medieval Dance - a group of figures that borrows heavily on Bruegel Greenman - Carved from a willow stump Owl - Carved for a Junior school on one very cold day

This article by Ben Holt of the Halifax Courier describes me and my work better than I can.    To view my art statement click here

Halifax Courier Published Date: 08 February 2007

 Source: Evening Courier

Location: Halifax

Whittle while you work..

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  It's odd to see a man so calm, focused and meditative when he's wrestling a snarling chainsaw in a blizzard of wood chips. Ben Holt reports

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Photographs by Bruce Fitzgerald

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SCULPTOR John Adamson is staring intently at the log clamped tightly to the work bench. He studies the grain and the natural curve of the wood as the saw whines and buzzes in his hands. He then deftly and delicately skims a sliver off one edge.
"As you carve, you work out why the figures are there and that becomes part of the story," the 64-year-old artist explains. "The wood provides the beauty and the strength and an excuse for a story. Watching the sculpture come out of a log is one of the great satisfactions."
And as they emerge from the wood, the characters take on personalities, John explains. They don't always end up exactly as he has imagined.
He points out a small group of carved figures crowded around something on a shelf in the front room.
"At the time I was carving it, I was thinking of it as a group of crown green bowlers as they measured the distance between their bowls and the jack to see who had won.
"I was going toward that but a woman said it reminded her of her childhood. They had found a bomb during the war. It was nose-down in soft earth. They dug it up and took it to the police station. The officer realised what it was and didn't want it there – they left it on the desk and got everyone out fast. The kids had thought they were doing something good but they got told off."
The story inspired John to alter the sculpture. He called it Look What I Found.
"It changed and the body shapes became better," he said. "They hadn't really been men playing bowls at all. When they became children, and you could put war-time baggy shorts on them, the whole thing came together."
It is soon clear that every piece John makes, from tiny delicate dolls to huge, looming giants, has a tale. So does John.
He started whittling and carving at the age of eight. He always carried a clasp knife in one pocket and bits of wood in the other. It's a habit he hasn't lost.
John worked at British Telecom for years, as it veered from public utility to slick private enterprise, and he carved wood in his spare time. When he left the job in 1995 he decided to dedicate himself to his passion and enrolled on a sculpture degree at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston. That's where he learned to use a chainsaw.
"Chainsaws can be quite sensitive. If you are cutting a tree or a branch you make very definite cuts because it doesn't really matter where you do it. With sculpture you are doing experimental cuts. You do a tentative bit here and a tentative bit there. So instead of cutting you are shaving. You are doing it quite gently.
"But I'm definitely not using it as the manufacturer intended," he laughs. "You are not abusing it but you are using parts of it that other people probably don't."
The studio where John works is crammed into the basement of his house on Palace House Road, Hebden Bridge. He roves around the tiny space, totally focused on his work. Behind him chisels sprout from old pans, saws and drills are clamped to the walls and half finished sculptures peek from under piles of wood. Everything is sinking beneath a soft drift of sawdust.
Finished pieces are polished, oiled and displayed in another cellar room and on every flat surface in the house, which he shares with his wife Ann.
But John also works outdoors on large public commissions. He carved the Three Pirates in Centre Vale Park, Todmorden, and the Dragon's Head at Colden Junior School.
He also runs workshops and demonstrations, letting school pupils have a hand in the design – although not on the chainsaw.
"I ask the kids to think about what the wood could become. They look at it and I carve the one that is not necessarily the prettiest but the one that uses the wood best. I would love to do more of that," he admits.
There have been experiments with stone and metal but John always returns to wood. He likes the environmentally friendly side of it. "The wood just appears," he explains. "The piece I'm working on came from a chap down the road. I cut down some of his bushes with my chainsaw in exchange for some logs of cherry.
"A lot of it comes that way – it is easier to give it to me than cart it down to the tip.
"We are eco-friendly. I'm recycling. I am taking wood that people don't want and turning it in to art."
Something in the log catches his eye, he circles it and the saw growls back into life. Then he's again lost in a cloud of dust.
ben.holt@halifaxcourier.co.uk


Last Updated: 27 July 2012

 

 I am a member of the British Woodcarvers Association, Yorkshire Sculptors Group, and Lancashire and Cheshire Woodcarvers 

Click below to see

Contact Me   Resume CV  Artist Statement Questions
Public Art Gallery of Groups Gallery of Heads  Other work
Hide and Seek, Carved in a Burnley park from a beech stump Medieval Dance - a group of figures that borrows heavily on Bruegel Greenman - Carved from a willow stump Owl - Carved for a Junior school on one very cold day

LINKS

Click here to see Links to

Lancashire and Cheshire Woodcarvers British Woodcarvers Association Chainsaw Carving Art Directory U2cancarve

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