About me

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Matthew Cave
Wood Artist

I moved about a lot throughout my life, but one constant has been working with wood. A part of my childhood was spent living in Mallorca, my folks still have a carving I did whilst there, two entwined figures in iron hard Olive wood. In my early twenties I lived on a ranch in Mexico, carving and working the wood of the ranch. We'd fell a few dying Pines and build cabanas. I loved it.

After being drawn more and more into this kind of life style I decided to take a job as a tree surgeon at home in Oxford. I figured it would provide me with an abundance of raw materials to carve and sculpt, whilst also teaching me all aspects of wood, from Acorn to Oak, so to speak. I was able to see firsthand how environment will affect trees and their timbers. I began to understand how a tree will adjust itself, packing on extra supporting structure to specific areas required to promote optimum growth; how any modification a tree has made generally results in a more interesting timber inside; how growth rings are contorted under compression; how early and late growth provides differing densities and the actual growth ring itself.

Anyone that works with wood knows that the deterioration of a tree will affect its timber quite spectacularly. Disease can produce all sorts of colour variations. "Spalted" woods are the result of the tree trying to contain a disease, literally trying to block off the spread of a disease at a cellular level by creating a barrier. This barrier then manifests itself as vivid dark lines in a perhaps otherwise blonde wood, creating a visual anomaly that I can use.

The vast variety of woods available, as well as their individual merits and differences provides nonstop intrigue. You never quite know what's inside each tree or piece of wood or how a sculpture is going to work out once started.

I'd better add that my parents have been a huge influence. They are both architects as well as latent hippies. They took me all over the world visiting amazing people and places, made me eat weird stuff, and have given me a lifetime of design and artistic influence.