Mark Aylward – Sculptor
Now a full time sculptor and mixed media artist, I have been designing and making one off pieces of studio furniture professionally since 2006, prior to this I worked in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry for 21 years and then with my partner Helen Stronach in her Architectural practice for 5 years. Clients wanting unusual, custom made furniture and a love of working with wood from when I was a young boy, brought me back to creating furniture and art pieces.
Working with wood is, as a recent exhibition bought out “the crack that let the light in” for me. Putting my hands back on “real” timber again after many years working with other materials, was almost like an electric shock to my system. The feel and connection to the timber is like letting light back into your soul.
I love working with Australian natives or at least local timbers and design pieces that show and enhance the natural beauty of our timbers.
Almost all of my work is by commission so I don’t get much time to make things for fun, although I try and keep a sense of fun and a relaxed feel to my work. When I do get to make a non commissioned piece I often like to incorporate some steel, copper or other material. This I think enhances the warmth of the timber and can make the composite piece far more interesting.
I am as some people say, “a dark sider” and like to use as many hand tools as I can while avoiding the screech and dust of power tools. The peace that comes from using finely tuned hand tools I believe is very gratifying and good for your soul. This mixed with the grain and texture of beautiful timber can be quite life changing.
I loved making pieces that have little or no restraints, carving, wood block prints, wood turning and studio furniture. I also get great satisfaction from commissioned art works where you may have boundaries that you have to be creative within, this adds an element of difficulty and an added challenge.