About me

I have over 20 years of experience and success in the creation of high quality artwork designed to withstand the rigours of the public space. Works have been in 3 dimensions, as well as ground and wall based relief. Over the years I have made new works for town centres, community gardens, public recreation grounds, local authority buildings, housing association developments as well as libraries, hospitals and health centres.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Talk about the present

It's 5.30pm on a Friday evening. Michael a Micklegate resident has just completed another busy week at work. He stops to pick up a few bits and pieces from the bustling shopping parade on Bishopthorpe Road before finally heading home. He chats as he goes, to his partner of 15 years, on his hands free mobile phone. They discuss the days events and plan their weekend ahead.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Modelling and mould making

Work in progress.



Beginning to make a rubber mould to cast the first figure.

Conversation Piece

Conversation Piece

Conversation Piece, the proposed sculpture for Bishopthorpe Road / Scarcroft Road junction features 3 modern day guardians. Paying homage to the figures found on walls around the city. The figures represent the past present and future development of the area

The sculpture features:

  • A sweetie maker holding a Terry's Chocolate Orange to represent the past

  • A professional person representing the present community

  • A child representing the future

The figures will stand on a base made of stone. The stone will be carved with the inscription:




Surrounding the base will be a small area of block paving created during workshop sessions. The blocks will feature 'CONVERSATION LOZENGES'

Terry's daring 18th-century conversation lozenges appealed to the Victorians. Those who were tongue-tied could always offer their companion a little piece of sugar paste printed with some suitable inscription. 'How do you flirt?' "Can you polka?' and 'Love me' were amongst those available from Terry's in York.

Our modern day Conversion Lozenges will have phrases suggested by local people representing their aspirations for the area. I have set up as Twitter account to enable people to engage with the project. Perhaps an idea will come to you while sitting on the bus, or walking the dog. Become a follower www.twitter.com/ailsamagnus and tweet your conversation starters.

The Pattern is Finished

The pattern for my 'Memory Map' is now finished. I will deliver it to the foundry this week.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Completed Base

The completed base on November 10th.
Once the carving of the base is finished the piece needs to be disassembled for firing. In order to ensure that it can be reassembled correctly I make a series of marks on the inside as an initial guide.
Before firing each brick needs to be frogged.
The bricks are individually numbered 1 - 160 to ensure they can be reassembled correctly.
Bricks all packed and ready to return to the brickworks for firing.

Friday, 20 November 2009


Plick! Every few minutes that sound resonates around the studio as another drop of water falls into the bucket under the leak in the roof.

My brief for the project was to develop a piece inspired by the phrase,'April Showers Bring May Flowers'... I've been batting around ideas for the past few weeks and finally have come up with a solution. Keep it simple.

The photos show my maquette, a half size model of the final design. I intend to cast the piece in fibre glass. It will have a highly polished surface finished with a colour shifting automotive paint.

The piece is to be sited indoors in a waiting room in the ICC. It's been a struggle for me to get my head round siting something indoors, with all the restrictions 4 walls can create. I am not used to carpets!! I think that I may make the piece look as though it hovers... though this has not been resolved yet.

I will also be making a wall based piece and will post images in due course.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Slowly Taking Shape

Another week and the piece is a little further on.

I've spent the past 3 days sticking 100s of tiny letters onto the 'map', a slow and fiddly process. It is slowly coming together. I hope to have it finished and ready for casting in the next week.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Pieces of time

The Castleford Memory Map is progressing. I've been working on this piece since September. The base is completed and I am now working on the map itself.

A selection of the clay relief features for the map. The discs are 100mm diameter, there are around 32 of these discs covering the map.

A few discs placed on the map for size.

Transferring the map onto the wooden pattern. The discs are again placed to see how they are going to fit.

The map is now taking shape. The rivers and canals have been cut out and the major roads put in place. The discs cover the map showing the locations of significant industries, places and events in the history of Castleford. These range from an iron age chariot burial ground to the new foot bridge across the River Aire.

Selby College Workshop 21/10/09

It's been nearly a month since my last up date.
A fortnight after my visit to Selby College I returned to compete the project with the students. During the fortnight the students had had time to work on their designs, working up drawings and deciding how they were going to tackle their sphere.

A visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the exhibition of Peter Randall Page's work had helped inform their designs.

No budding young sculptor should been seen out without her French Manicure ;-)

Group 1 (am)

Group 2 (pm)
I thought the students did a fantastic job and was really pleased with their results. This was the first time any of them had worked in this way. They embraced the challenge and I think the results speak for themselves. These students are aged 16-17 in the main. I couldn't help wonder how I would have approached the project at their age.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Next Chapter 2

Slowly but surely the new work space is taking shape. This week we took delivery of some furniture for the 'clean space'. This, as with everything we seem to do at the moment, was not without problems. I won't go into detail here, but I recommend anybody intending to buy large items from Ikea hire a van rather than use their delivery service!

It isn't looking terribly 'clean' at the moment, but it is taking shape.

This side of the space will be used for exhibiting work and as a meeting room. It will also be an area where we can put displays together away from the dust of the main studio.

In the space to the right of the picture I will install my office. We've managed to acquire a drawing board and a plan chest free of charge. This has been a fantastic help. Thank you to John Manzie in Cupar and Colin at Riccall for their help.

The main studio still looks a bit like a bomb site. We're currently working on two projects amongst all the unpacking.

Main studio looking from the opposite end.

The yard will eventually be used for stone carving and any other out door work.
We are still working on the clay/wet materials room, which will double as an education space. At the moment it is mostly being used for storage!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Selby College Workshop 7/10/09

A workshop for 1st year diploma students at Selby College.
Students started to carve a sphere from a block of polystyrene. Next week they will work into their spheres creating pod/seed inspired forms. Once completed the 19 pieces will be joined together to create an endless column.

This is the first time the students have tried carving.

Working with a variety of tools they formed their spheres.

One of the pieces at the end of day 1.... an excellent result.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Making The Base

Between packing up the old studio and moving I've had to keep working on my on going projects. I began making the bricks for the base of my 'Castleford Memory Map' at the beginning of this week. Each brick is individually hand cut using a wooden pattern box.

Building up the base, trying to keep levels correct.

I had to move the piece onto a table, as my back began to ache!!
I realized that something was wrong. The walls seemed to be slipping off the vertical. I then noticed that the blocks were uneven...

... another wooden box was constructed and every brick has now been leveled.

Looking better.

The base is going to be carved with a low relief water design to represent the River Aire. The piece will be sited on the banks of the river adjacent to the new footbridge.

Over the next few days the relief design will begin to take shape.