Gillian’s carving are about learning and the physical, emotional and material responses to stone. When she is carving, her whole self is focused and responsive – drawing curves with her hands and in her head, bending to catch planes and lines, turning – these moves are reflected is some of the forms that emerge.
She works intuitively – direct carving. She loves the rhythm, the sounds, the feel and the smell of the stone. For Gillian, stone is a material that absorbs and releases energy. Feeling the space around the stone is essential as she works.
Gillian’s first experience of stone was during her Art/Education degree. A lot of her subsequent learning and experience has been in Portland, Dorset with workshops run by the Portland Sculpture Trust. Carving in the quarry, surrounded by rock, sea, air and light is crucial to her understanding of the true nature of the material with which she works.
Selecting stone is important, as it is often the riven stone that is the starting point. She hand tools all her sculptures, just as the quarrymen did to release the monumental blocks of limestone when the quarries were in use. Gillian is interested in the relationship between the formal, carved and informal, riven elements of the stone. Some of her more figurative pieces and experiments with letter cutting explore this connection.