Chris studied at Leicester Poly gaining a BA Hons in jewellery and silversmithing back in 1988. Designed and made jewellery for three years before joining The Steelworks, which gave Chris a wonderful opportunity to weld various designs: desks, wall art lighting and a selection of weird animals, all from the Camden Lock gallery. In 1993, a move to Covent Garden and the creation of Rex the Mouse brought a whole new audience which has kept Chris busy for the best part of twenty five years, with Rex being sent all round the world.
After making so many small Rexes, Chris dipped his toe into much larger garden sculptures, for a change of scene. The success of the first show at Stone Lane Gardens in Devon inspired Chris to create more designs and start up a website. The show also brought interest from galleries and other sculpture exhibitions. Over the next few years, Chris has taken part in a wide range of events across southern England including Hampton Court, RHS Rosemoor and Delmore Arts, while having work on display in several galleries.
Based on natural forms, Chris’ simple interpretation of leaves, buds and flowers in steel, stand out well against a garden backdrop. His designs have 360 degree interest, framing plants and buildings, while the steel surfaces reflect both sky and vegetation. Using either a ‘rustic’ or a flashy shiny stainless finish and sometimes a combination, Chris’ sculptures can suit many situations, indoors or outside.
The making of these sculptures has taken several twists and turns but Chris has settled with mig welding the strips of mild steel to a thick steel rod or rebar, bending and sanding before welding on to a steel plate. Once aged for a few weeks in the garden, the ‘Rustic’ sculptures are finished with a couple of coats of specialist oil for protection. This also gives them a natural darker brown sheen. Some sculptures are mounted on green oak plinths while others are staked directly into the ground, as if they are growing from the soil. These sculptures are suited to various locations in the garden such as under trees, in the lawn or in beds where plants can grow around them. To complete each mounted piece, Chris has saved lead from the roof of his house, cut into square coins and stamped with a CK. These are attached to the sculptures as his signature.
In 2015, the tiny 12ft by 10ft shed was finally replaced with a much larger workshop and gallery at the top of the garden. With the extra space, Chris was now able to make a wider range of designs like gates and ornamental panels.
The last few years have been so busy Chris has cut back on exhibitions and galleries to concentrate on more local events, giving more time to complete commissions and internet orders. Events such as a solo exhibition in ACEarts in Somerton and having work in the beautiful East Lambrook Manor Gardens over the summer months, have been very fruitful. Chris also takes part in Somerset Art Weeks, where local artists either open their workshops to the public or form groups to display work. With his new gallery, Chris has been able to host the past group shows with John Gammans, an impressionist landscape artist. Their work compliments each other so well. The annual art trail takes place in the Autumn.
Living in Martock, Somerset and working from a shed in the garden has allowed Chris to keep up his ethical stance. There is a wonderful selection of businesses locally including a well stocked timber yard, metal works and powder coaters. All are great to work with and put up with Chris looking for scrap or needing a hand with something.