Carving drowning fisherman
John Adamson - Wood Sculptor: Clitheroe Head03

I am a Wood Sculptor Woodcarver in Hebden Bridge.    My inspiration comes from the form of the log rather than forcing my ideas on squared timber.   The wood to tell me what to carve as I search for the story hidden in the wood.    The human figure is an important part of my work, but my work includes a wide range of subjects. I specialise in corporate art and private commissions. You will find examples of my work divided into three sections in my gallery. Most of the work is not for sale as it was commissioned. I am happy to accept commissions for all types of work.

John Anderson - Wood Sculptor: Groups


I prefer to start from the natural form of the log, tree, or root, as these have natural curves and strengths that help to give life and movement to my figures.    With square-cut timber, these elements are not so evident, and the figure can easily look stiff as a wooden toy soldier.

Carving is, in many respects, a “one chance” activity. If too much wood is taken off, the options for recovery are limited. The carver needs to plan carefully, and visualise the finished result while it is still in the block. He needs to have a good knowledge of the form, which I obtained by drawing the subject constantly.

The human figure is the one subject that surrounds me at all times.   I always carry a sketchbook, and draw in all situations and at all opportunities; whilst waiting for and on all forms of transport, in a café and theatre, at meetings and anywhere I can find a free temporary model. These drawings provide a mental visual library of body shapes that I can fit into the wood.

There are difficulties in using the human figure. The most important is that almost everyone can tell when you have got it wrong, although very few can say why or how to put it right. Pushing the figure/face to its ultimate limits helps to resolve the problem. For other subjects and clients commissions, the internet, books and the local museum provide the information. If possible I draw and take engineering-type photographs – plan, front and side elevations, and perhaps make a plasticine model of the subject.


For most of my life I have been a professional but part-time wood sculptor and woodcarver, earning my living as a civil servant and lately as a computer consultant. In 1995, I made a break and started on the road to taking a B.A. in Fine Art at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. It was an exciting road, especially the six months I spent as an exchange student in Richmond, Virginia. There I met American carvers and joined in with their club activities.