As a sculptor, I usually have a major solo exhibition every three years. However, things haven’t gone exactly to plan. Last year, I delayed my exhibition due to Brexit, and this year I cancelled it due to Covid! Of course, it was extremely disappointing. ‘Life in Bronze 2020’ was the culmination of four years of hard work. The exhibition included over 70 new sculptures, inspired by travels across Europe, Australia, Africa, India and the United Arab Emirates.
Although it has not been possible to share these new sculptures with you ‘in real life’, we have worked really hard to make this year’s catalogue extra special. It goes out to everyone on our mailing list and is always an important part of the solo show. I think it might be our best catalogue yet. It helps tell the story behind each sculpture and how they came about. It has been a real labour of love.
We narrowed down the images from over 800 and worked out the structure of the catalogue. I love the photography and design part of the process. It’s exactly like designing a book. The theme of this year’s catalogue was easy to decide upon. It highlights my connection to nature and the journey it takes to produce a sculpture.
It takes a whole team to put together the catalogue, and I’m so pleased to have some brilliant people working with me. Joe Graham is an amazing graphics designer and I have been lucky enough to work with him for years. He can read my mind and knows exactly the sort of style I am after. He is also very patient with me. I have been known to change my mind fairly frequently and am forever tweaking things! Joe has been pulling things together over a six month period.
I put the printing of components out to tender. This is an important part of the process when printing 330,000 bits of paper! Joe and I decided upon BCQ and they have been brilliant to work with. Utterly professional and top quality all the way through.
I’ve been so lucky to have some wonderful contributors to the catalogue. Laura and Maeve wrote and co-ordinated much of the copy, as well as endlessly proofreading. Will Gompertz, the BBC’s arts editor, kindly took the time to visit my studio and the foundry earlier in the year, so that he could write the foreword. The author and naturalist, Stephen Moss, has also helped to give the catalogue some serious clout with his wildlife expertise and observations.
I’m also delighted to have had input from Charlie Mayhew, the CEO of Tusk, and of course the Northern Rangelands Trust and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, all of whose conservation efforts I continue to support through my sculpting. Thanks must also go to Steppes Travel and Ultimate Travel, two travel companies that have facilitated my research trips, helped me spread the word and raise more money for conservation. Last but not least, I’m always grateful to the marvellous team at Lockbund Foundry without whom I couldn’t do what I do!
Producing the catalogue is a costly but essential part of my business. Overseas mailing alone cost £15,000 in stamps! It has been a massive project with lots of creative input from a big team to get it right. Even the timing was thought out carefully. A mid September ‘door drop’ felt about right. The children are thankfully back at school and there is still enough time for me to cast a few orders in time for Christmas.
If you haven’t done so already, head over to my contact page and sign up to receive the 2020 catalogue in the post. Or you can download it from my History of Exhibitions page or view it online as a flip book. We really hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!