Tim Stead (1952 - 2000)

Tim Stead wanted to be a sculptor but didn’t like the preciousness of the contemporary art scene, so he started to make sculptures people could sit on.  So began his love affair with wood.  He became a superb furniture maker, using natural, local timbers (at first storm-blown), and letting the grain inspire his chiselled forms. His masterpiece – or rather his love piece – is the home he created for his wife Maggy and their family in Blainslie, Scotland. You have to go into it to appreciate it, an embracing cave carved out of wood – seats, fireplaces, alcoves, bookcases, beds – all interlinking forms, a celebration of mutual living.  Giles Sutherland’s book Explorations in Wood – The Furniture & Sculpture of Tim Stead gives an idea of the wonder of this place. 

Towards the close of his tragically truncated life, while suffering from terminal cancer, he began making pure sculptures again. These small, haunting carvings are impossible to photograph, for their full resonance only begins to operate in three dimensions as your eye explores their cavernous dimensions, and your mind hangs in their miniature, perilous immensity – in stature these small works are on a par with the best of Henry Moore.

Tim Stead wrote about these pieces in 1998:

”These sculptures relate to ‘layers’ in the landscape. I feel that they are concerned with much larger scale activities, quarrying, temples, cities cut in rock. They are more visual than tactile and have a feeling of emptiness, deserted and their function lost. They are focuses for contemplating time and space. With all my work I seem to be continually going around the relationship of man and nature. I am an incorrigible optimist and like to celebrate the fact that man can make an input which reveals nature in an altered beauty. We are natural and represent a vast natural force of change”.

For more information please visit: www.timsteadfurniture.co.uk

Excavation 1995-99

Wood carving

Skeletal chair 1984