March 15, 2019


I am having a solo exhibition of my work in the Angel Gallery from Saturday 13th April to Sunday 21st April. Open 12noon to 6pm, but closed on Sunday 14th.

Old work and new work – playful, musical, and erotic themes and also some politically provocative work.

I have been thinking about why I am having this exhibition.  The main reason is to share the enjoyment I have had for the last 16 yrs working with wood and words, in a way that has enabled an exploration of creativity that has definitely changed my life.  It has been quite a solitary journey, after a 5 day course at West Dean with Martin Wenham pointed me in the right direction.  Mostly working on my own, except for a period when I had the privilege of working on commissions with the Edinburgh calligrapher Susie Leiper.

There is no particular theme for the work in the exhibition.  Sometimes the wood came first, waiting for the right words.  For my favourite work, the words waited for several years before an amazing piece of hawthorn came my way.  Many of the works use oak, but I hope they illustrate what a wonderful wood this is, with so many interesting possibilities.





June 2018

June 26, 2018

Not much has happened in the last year.   In September 2017 I moved from Edinburgh to the village of Dartington in Devon.  Most of my time has been spent establishing a new life down here.   There have been a couple of enjoyable commissions on the way.  Two boat names for a friend on Iona – NARWAL ; and a sign for a cricket pavilion in Devon – THE GOLDSMITH PAVILION.  Both had interesting design possibilities.

In September (7&8) I will be teaching an introductory course on letter carving in wood, for Craft Revolution run by Schumacher College on the Dartington Hall estate.



Catching up

June 5, 2017

Some of the work I have done since I last posted, starting with an oak breadboard (made elsewhere) to which I added lettering and symbols to represent the date. A commissioned wedding gift.

This oak cube was a personal gift. 7 letters; 3 names; mother, father and daughter.

An oak house name.

Oak house and workshop signs.

A commission, in sawn water stained oak, featuring the letter G.

A recent commission

May 18, 2016



A single word commission, drawing inspiration from the stone letter carver Tom Perkins’ “g”. Carved on a square of ripple sycamore, set into a larger square of a tropical wood that grows in Hawaii. My customer comes from Brazil but lives in Scotland, so the inclusion of a non-native wood seemed appropriate, even if it was the wrong ocean.

Not all Gloom&Doom

March 7, 2016

SYZYGY  (in astronomy) the alignment of three celestial bodies, especially the Sun, the Earth and the Moon, along a straight or nearly straight line. (from Foyle’s Philavery)
Oak, part ebonized, part matt black paint, oil, brass pins



sacred outrage

January 6, 2016

Outrage is the other side of love, the realisation that our sacred obligation to treat others as ends rather than means has been violated, that the compassion essential to communal life is missing.

I posted the “elephants in the room” carving last year.  The discovery of this statement by Sam Keen in the book “In the Absence of God”, prompted me to add four new works to three existing works and exhibit them under the title “Sacred Outrage”, which is a sub heading in the book.



Pope Leo 1, the Great



Canto XLV : Ezra Pound

Usura 2012-blog


I think the older generations should be getting more angry at the way their grandchildren’s inheritance is being violated.  Sometimes a quotation and a piece of wood are made for each other. Quotation by Dylan Thomas (with small omission) carved on water stained qs Scottish oak.



The 23-member 9/11 Consensus Panel is building a body of evidence-based research into the events of September 11, 2001, derived from a standard scientific reviewing process. The late Michael Meacher MP was an honorary member from 2011.  The quotation is from the Robert Burns poem The Dream.                                         



The reasoning behind this carving is somewhat obscure but then so is the maze of legislation that is determining the future of Scotland’s water, with the UK having a unified business water market from 1.4.2017.  There are two pieces of legislation which become law on April Fool’s day.   What implications does this have for a future Independent Scotland ?   The HHO  (H2O) in the first two lines on the right are carved, the rest painted.

fool- B


“A conspiracy theory is an explanatory or speculative hypothesis suggesting that two or more persons or an organization have conspired to cause or cover-up, through secret planning and deliberate action, an event or situation typically regarded as illegal or harmful.”   (Wikipedia)

I AM - B


I’ll finish this post with another powerful quote from Arundhati Roy.

The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it, and once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out.  There’s no innocence.  Either way you are accountable.”



Some work from 2015

January 6, 2016

The big thing for me this year was to put together seven lettercarvings and exhibit them under the heading Sacred Outrage. More about that in a separate post. The biggest commission was a real pleasure. There is a cycle path around Loch Leven in Fife which was completed recently. On the outskirts of Kinross is a birdviewing hide, designed by ICOSIS architects, which has won several awards. My commission was to replace a couple of larch strips with oak of the same size, carved with the names of the awards. I will have to wait until the Spring to get a decent image but the website is worth a look. http://www.icosis.co.uk/bird-hide-loch-leven/

bird hide - B


A couple of small commissions.  I like the idea of holders for single flower blooms, using quartered or halved fruitwood logs.  These are drilled for a 150mm glass test tube.  This commission was a thank you gift for a couple whose home had provided a refuge for a friend through a difficult period of her life.



A temporary grave marker, in oak.

grave marker - B


After the gloom and doom addressed in the outrage carvings,  something a bit more joyful.   Ebonised oak   530 x 310mm



This memorial bench,  from 2012, was a collaboration with the furniture maker Graeme Murray (Real Wood Studios).  The oak board resting against the wall supports the solid seat, which also sits on a section of tree trunk.  The words are from a poem by Jackie Kay.  Still waiting for a good image with morning sunshine.  The sloping panel has weathered beautifully.

annie's bench

goodnight fiere


February 21, 2015

I am interested in different ways of representing music and have completed two works using the Taize song Stay With Me.
I have been working on this idea for many years. This year’s VAS exhibition in Edinburgh provided the impetus to get it finished, but it wasn’t accepted.
The first five bars of Beethoven’s 5th, using ripple sycamore, pear and ebony.


There is a leaf shadow in this image.  I always photograph my work outside, which is sometimes a problem with the low winter sun.  I’ll replace the image when the work is finally completed.

Mouse Manifesto

February 12, 2015


“Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed, also applying to obvious problems or risks no one wants to discuss. (Source:Wikipedia)                                                                                                                     We all live with a huge herd of elephants, some of which, of particular concern to me, are represented in this carving.  You won’t read honest discussion about these issues in newspapers or on television but there are many excellent articles by independent journalists on the web.  The heroic mouse is made by the Edinburgh silversmith Bryony Knox, seen before in the wee sleekit carving.

wee sleekit

More work in elm

December 16, 2014

I had two works in the Wych Elm exhibition and another from the same tree which was completed later. This was another collaboration with Susie Leiper with the words ULMUS GLABRA.  This was recently purchased by RBGE and is now part of a small display about the  exhibition on the ground floor of the John Hope building.



This piece of burr elm has carvings on both sides.  An appreciation for the work of a well known journalist and broadcaster, endeavouring to wake people up to the reality of life in Scotland.

Thanks to an unknown person in a BellaCaledonia article (Notes from the Armadillo) for the words.

fully earthed-blog