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An interview with Wycliffe Stutchbury

Written by May Haddon | Posted on: August 18, 2015

Hi, I’m May, I’m blogging regularly for Bluecoat Display Centre featuring exhibiting artists as well as up and coming artists whom I am interested in.  My focus for this blog is  artist Wycliffe Stutchbury.

Using the aged beauty of wood as the central narrative to each individual piece, Wycliffe creates material lead pieces, with a more buried message and meaning.

Compelled by the natural world and its attempts to repel the changes humanity forces upon it, Wycliffe creates ordered, yet naturally rugged landscapes out of tile-like pieces of timber.  His inspiration comes from all aspects of the timber- from its location and age, to the complexity of its grain and even the smell.  Wycliffe uses every sense to respond and create each new piece of work, resulting in a textured, unorganised pattern-like nature- much like the grainy images on google earth; of highly packed housing estates creating rolling patterns and main roads scarring the lands natural, harmonic form.

I love the systematic, yet also unorganised nature of Wycliffe’s work; also the natural colours he uses, and how they vary from piece to piece.  Knowing that each piece has a hidden story behind it makes it even more intriguing and captivating.

Below is my recent interview with Wycliffe, Where he gives an insight into his work, and the processes involved:

 How do you make your work/ what materials do you use?

My work is about trying to show the irregular beauty of timber, but also to convey a sense of the history, the experiences of the material. I want to show how the wood has responded to its environment, through colour, texture and the scars.

A sense of place is central to my work, the landscape. This is why the location where the timber was found provides the title for the work.

I create the pieces by cutting the timber I have found into small tiles of differing sizes and layering them up on plywood. I try to maintain an intuitive way of working, rather like stacking firewood.

 Who do you sell your work to?

I mainly sell my work through galleries, but I do also work to commission.

 Describe your studio.

People sometimes imagine that I work in an eighteenth century Sussex barn in rolling countryside and I feel sorry to disappoint them. I work in a very functional 1950’s rail side industrial building. I share the studio with 4 other artists. It is a collective studio that I founded with three other graduates of Brighton university 12 years ago. It is called Blue Monkey Studio because when we first moved in we found a little blue monkey sitting on a jewellers bench.

 What do you enjoy most about your work?

I enjoy all elements of my work, from finding the material to building a crate and shipping it off.  If I had to choose, I would say the bit when I first cut through some old branch that I have found in downland scrub. It reveals a hidden world of colour and texture and smells.  I am regularly thankful for my job!

Who/What inspires you?

I am drawn to artists and sculptors who lived in England between the wars. Hepworth, Moore, Nicholson. In my work I try to remain open to the nature of the material. The direction of grain, colour, shape.,the cracks and scars. Landscape as well…I could spend hours on Google Earth.

How has your work changed over past years/ Has new technology influenced your work?

I don’t think the nature of my work has changed. I have always been deliberately low-tech and analogue. I have very few machines and find them a distraction. For many years I worked in furniture workshops and I saw first hand what huge investment is needed to make things efficiently.

Do you have any future plans or upcoming events?

I have commissioned work that will keep me busy for the rest of this year, then planned exhibitions next year. I am hoping to find time to develop some new work with this haul of bog oak I have got. Amazing stuff.

Wycliffe’s work is currently in the ‘Slow Turning exhibition’ at the Bluecoat Display Centre, which is on until 22nd August.

To find out a little more about Wycliffe and his work, check out this link:


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