AboutIt was in his early years as a gamekeeper up in Lancashire and Cheshire that Andy first picked up a chainsaw. Early carvings consisted of cutting joints in Larch poles to build deer towers, but even cutting firewood he was fascinated by the shapes and textures offered by the wood.
In 1996 he moved to Nothants, taking up employment as a recreational warden at Pitsford reservoir, working for Anglia Water. Public companies, being public companies and also responsible employers decided to ship Andy off on a NPTC recognised chainsaw course, not only did this give Andy a firm “technical” grounding it also left him deeply grateful for a full set of limbs after 15 years of self-taught chainsaw abuse!
One day, a small Cedar tree had succumbed to the wind and lay across one of the car parks. With limited man-power standard disposal technique is to cut everything to small logs and leave them as bait for the “log thieves”. Sure enough a couple of days later everything has gone except two rings of the main trunk. Loading them into the Land Rover, from the smell of the Cedar and the patterns formed by the annular rings in the wood a Cedar frog appeared. Later that day Andy picked up the saw, started carving to let the frog into the world. That was the start…. Over the years Andy has persisted in using chainsaws, experimenting with ways to add different finishes and textures to his carvings, adding details with a blow-torch, occasionally sanding and using chisels for fine detail.
Maybe it’s his great affinity for nature gained spending his life in the countryside or just his knowledge of the wood, but when you commission a piece from Andy he is surprisingly adept at seeing what you are looking for. “I’ work in three dimensions” says Andy, I can’t see the point in producing sketches and models, a piece of wood is a living thing, you have to adapt as you carve”. Then, watching, from the din of the saw and the shower of wood-chips a unique carving will appear to last a life time.