Wood: growth patterns
Mark Reddy takes the modest, humble form of the spoon and imbues it with symbolic expression.
Skilfully working with wood cut and foraged locally, he utilises the innate character inherent in this material. His extraordinary spoons and vessels are carved in the green with simple traditional tools: the hand axe, the maul, the froe, and the crook knife, from native Somerset trees.
Spalted beech, oak, maple, apple, cherry and walnut; a pale hazel spoon - the handle with live bark still intact; others embellished and burnished with gold; a loop of hand woven reed or grass cordage or adorned with a Roman coin, a stone bead, with carved and found objects.
Each piece, with its tokens and amulets embody a strange and intriguing narrative.
There are vessels, pod like or structural, the wood raw, gilded, painted, faceted, or carbonised, still with all the evidence of the maker's hand.
The spoon is arguably man's first vessel, a giver of life, a utensil providing comfort and nourishment: universal and timeless, domestic and intimate. Spoons are the earliest eating tools, dating back as far as the Paleolithic era. Sea shells were connected to small wooden sticks and chips of wood were slowly carved into spoon-like shapes.
With its lip, bowl, shoulders, neck and stem the spoon has all the attributes of a sculptural object.... but it is still just a spoon and for Mark, the repetition in making such a humble and yet essential vessel is infinitely fulfilling and endlessly demanding.
Mark has always been a relentless maker working across many disciplines: as an illustrator
for The Radio Times and The Listener, as a prop maker, Art Director, Creative Director, Designer and artist in metal, beating and welding and melting bronze and silver to make narrative tableaux. He has exhibited work in many galleries in Britain.
However, carving green wood and in particular the humble spoon have remained the constant and essential focus of his practice.
"I have become obsessed with the quest for beauty in form through utility of design. Man-made objects that I gravitate towards are those that exemplify the love and understanding of the worked material, the rigour and knowledge of the use of tools that made them and their purpose. My journey is one of expressing these values through carving green wood".
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