THE Gardening WEBSITE
Bill Prickett Sculptor
Bill Prickett is an unusual mixture of interests and life experiences. A gifted woodsculptor who is regarded as amongst the most talented in the UK, Bill didn't start carving full time till his 30s. Born in 1965 in Kent, UK, Bill was intent on working with animals and at 17 he started work as a dolphin trainer at Windsor Safari Park.
His work took him all over the world and encompassed a variety of activities from working with killer whales and sealions to expeditions in Australia, Congo and Borneo. He has also volunteered in Hawaii studying humpback whales, and in Scotland helping with research on echo location in dolphins.
Bill has that rare combination - exceptional technical talent and the imagination of an artist. Works such as "Swimming Otter" or "Diving Otter" show his ability to design pieces of beauty and simplicity; whereas"Peregrine Preening"or"Taking Flight" show his extensive carving skill and his ability to transfer a creature's form into a three dimensional carving. (Not as easy as it sounds!) This mixture is one of the things that makes Bills work so special.
He enjoys a challenge, whether it is the delicacy of a minature dogs head, or the technical difficulties involved in afull size bullorflying saker falconand is always ready to discuss commissions.
His work has been exhibited at various galleries including the Mall Galleries, London - at the SWLA (Society of Wild Life Artists) annual exhibition - and Pensthorpe National Wildlife Carving and Sculpture Exhibitions where he has twice won the peoples choice award.
Bill's originals are carved in wood. For his more detailed sculptures he generally uses lime wood. Lime is hard enough to take detail well, and doesn't have too obvious a grain. This means that fine details such as feathers are not overshadowed by the figuring of the wood.
For some of his more simple, stylised designs he can use more interesting woods, for example the swiming otter, is carved in camphor laurel, which has a very decorative grain. This simple design shows off the grain to best effect.
Bill also carves in laminated hardwoods. He usually uses birchwood, which he cuts into rough shapes (to a template he has previously designed) and these shapes are then glued together in layers. This method has several advantages. It means sculptures of any size can be carved from wood (they are not limited by the size of wood available from trees), it also gives the most beautiful grained effect, which when they are sanded to a fine finsh, oiled and waxed, give a lustrous sheen. By glueing many layers toether the carving has greater stability, so it doesn't split in an environment of varying humidity and temperature and can even be used outside. This method is used to best effect on simple shapes (such as the diving otter).
Bronzes (which are produced at a foundry) are made in the lost wax method.
First a wax cast is taken from the mould (made from the original). Wax rods (sprues) and a funnel- like cup are fitted onto the wax cast which will eventually take the poured bronze and allow for release of captured gasses. The sprue system and wax positive are then coated with a ceramic liquid.
The piece, now coated in a ceramic shell, is fired in a kiln. This bakes the shell and melts the wax, which runs out of the mould, leaving a cavity in its place. (Thus the term, "LOST WAX.") The ceramic shell is removed from the kiln and molten bronze is poured into the mould. This is left to cool and the ceramic shell is cut away. The cooled bronze is a replica of the wax cast, including the sprues and funnel. These are cut away by an Artisan. Then by grinding, chasing, sanding and polishing, all areas are blended back to make the bronze look exactly like the artist's original sculpture. The bronze is now treated with chemicals and heat to give it the chosen patination. The patina is sealed under a wax coating and becomes a permanent part of the sculpture.
Bronze resins are made on site at Bills workshop. He makes the moulds, and produces the bronze resins himself. This means he can control the quality of the final object. They look almost identical to bronzes, but are made of polyester resin, with bronze powder and colour added to the mix. They are sometimes called cold cast bronzes.
A silicon mould is taken from the orginal sculpture, which is coated with a case, usually of fibreglass, for strength. Mould making is an art in its own right, and takes many years to of practice to perfect. For some of the more complicated sculptures, it can take days to make a mould.
A resin/bronze mix is poured into the mould and left for 24 hours to cure. The resin casts are then pulled from the mould. The cast is then fettled (cleaned and any air-release holes or seams made good) wire-wooled, to expose the bronze, and waxed. The casts are numbered, as part of a limited edition.
Gallery - CLICK HERE
Bronzes - CLICK HERE
Birds of Prey CLICK HERE
Originals CLICK HERE
Laminated Items CLICK HERE
Work in Progress CLICK HERE
Marine Sculpture CLICK HERE
Exhibitions - CLICK HERE
Email - email@example.com
Website - http://www.billprickett.co.uk/
Teaching - Group Courses and one-to-one Tuition
Bill is a qualified adult education teacher, who has taught all aspects of woodcarving for nearly 10 years. He has put his experience to good use in the structure and presentation of his courses. He teaches both small group courses and on a one-to-one basis.
Bill knows the pitfalls and problems which all carvers can encounter and will help students to avoid mistakes. From how to select wood, to finishing techniques, all aspects of woodcarving are covered. Bill will answer any specific queries you may have and will help you to make the most of your talents.
Some comments from previous students
“Thank you so much for a really fantastic weekend of carving. It was so helpful and a great confidence booster in my ability to have a go and actually get something done” Ros, Surrey
“The course exceeded my expectations. Venue was good...course was taught with a good balance of hands on carving and teaching. The bonus was the wealth of knowledge and experience that Bill was able to share”. Terry L, Kent.
“I enjoyed every day, the week went too quickly, it met all my expectations and more; the tuition was first class ... I particularly appreciated being left to get on with the work knowing that there was always a watchful eye in the background to ensure I stayed on the right track. A course I wish I could have done some years ago. Terry D. Kent
The courses are held in Bill's workshop, based on a hop farm in rural Kent near Faversham. The group courses are designed to be informal and fun, but with a structure which enables students to reach set targets. The group courses are conducted either over two or five days.
There are excellent B&Bs and restaurants in the village or nearby for those who need accommodation, and for those bringing partners or friends there are plenty of alternative activities (beautiful walks, a variety of bird reserves, culture and shopping in Canterbuy, Rochester and Maidstone to mention a few ).
Bill also teaches on an individual basis and he can discuss your needs and design a course that will meet your personal aims.
If you would like any other details please either email: firstname.lastname@example.org phone us on +44 (0) 845 257 0887 (UK - local call rates) or+ (0)1795 892039.