He works from his studio in rural Herefordshire (West Midlands, UK) and exhibits widely across the UK and abroad. He has received national acclaim in the UK for his innovative work in wood. With public pieces in six counties he is widely recognised for his ambitious pieces and his striking style.
A balance of public and private commissions as well as his self-driven body of work enables Elliott to work full-time as an artist, constantly exploring new themes and developing techniques.
All of Ed Elliott’s work is conceptually driven, although it is not a necessity to understand this. He purposely makes accessible work, often with hidden depths of meaning. In a world that is visually and mentally over-stimulating there is an urgency for balance. Instinct and emotions are powers that words can often trivialise. Work that explores the hidden struggle within every one of us, the importance of unity in what it is to be alive in this moment, is something that Ed believes will resonate and connect us all.
How did you get into working with wood?
I am lucky to have a legend of a man as my Godfather, he opened my eyes to woodworking when I was young and even bought me my very first tools, one of which was an Arbortech Woodcarver Blade (the latest version of this blade being the Industrial Woodcarver) for an angle grinder!
Do you have an official qualification for what you do now?
Yes, after college I studied Fine Art, for four years where I specialised in Sculpture and gained my BA(Hons) Degree in Fine Art: Sculpture.
What inspires your creations?
Big question. In a word; Life. I am particularly interested in figurative work, using the human body, as I feel this is a very direct way of communicating my ideas with my audience. All my work is conceptually driven although it is not a necessity to understand this. I like telling stories, there is a lot going on behind most finished pieces. My main focus is our emotional state and what it feels like to be alive.
What would you tell your younger self starting out on your artistic journey?
Trust your instincts, follow your heart and try not to be distracted by logic. If you’re meant to be making art, things will happen for you. If not, don’t worry, life is amazing, there will other ways to express yourself.
Do you sell your work?
Yes, I am a full-time artist.
What is your favourite Arbortech Tool and why?
I love working with the Turbo Plane, although currently I am enjoying the Ball Gouge – it is such a great tool for scooping out material. I feel like I am just getting started with it but having lots of fun!
If you were a type of wood what would you be and why?
Haha, I would have to say Oak. Complicated yet intriguing grain, stands strong, takes its time and is different to any other wood. The sapwood exterior is softer with oak, yet the heart is strong, durable and can withstand a lot of challenging situations. It doesn’t come without its cracks.
How do you like to spend your time when you are not working with wood?
Seeing things for the first time. I love to travel and go to new places, it opens my eyes and usually kick starts my inspiration. Although I have not had the opportunity to travel anywhere for some time… I must start planning my next trip.
Burning of an Angel
After carving giant, bare logs and transforming them into stunning, larger than life sculptures, Ed takes his artistic vision to the next level by burning his artwork, the series is called “Charred”. The surface burning creates a beautiful matte black finish, but also creates a protective barrier that successfully helps preserve the wood.
Ed goes on to explain the burning method in his art, “It is is always a challenging moment to burn a piece. The process comes from studying the ancient Japanese wood preserving technique – Shou Sugi Ban, which translates to ‘Burnt Cedar Board’ traditionally practised with cedar cladding, protection for rural timber framed buildings. Although the wood is burned, it is under a controlled and almost therapeutic process.”
“The first decision to do this was to transform (conceptually as well as visually) an old piece of work which had been widely exhibited – into a totally different brand new work for exhibition. My early work exploring this technique was literally set on fire first (temporarily, for dramatic effect) primarily for stunning video footage. Then the piece was put out and carefully ‘charred’ and using a gas torch and finished in a far more controlled manner. Since exploring this fascinating process it has become a major theme in my work in recent years.”
For more awe inspiring projects and information about this talented sculptor, follow Ed Elliot here