For all my working life, I have had a connection and passion for the artistic form. This comes from my family background. The connection with, and being influenced by, the many creative and skilful artists and artisans about us. These may even be some of my grandparents, who were top class cake-makers and business people. My grandad, (known to us as Grumpy, so-called by us grandchildren, but he was far from it, in fact he was a hard but lovely man, always whistling – “whistle while you work.”) he, along with my grandmother and uncles started a firm in Kent around the late 1960-70’s, they were called Leather-craft. Producing handmade leather steering wheels for the growing motor industry, in fact, my grandmother took on the mainly male dominated, at the time business world at Lotus Ford. The firm secured the contract and became the first suppliers for handstitched steering wheels (I am led to believe this was done by Grumpy himself, we even still have in the family the singer sowing machine used). The firm grew but was eventually closed due to a large site fire. Grumpy also led a courageous life, as during the second world war, he drove tanks to supply the front line in France, suffering shell shock as a result. Stories along with his sister who was in the war rooms with Winston Churchill as with many, only came to light a few years before his passing.

My Grandmother Margaret, was a great supporter to me, as were most of my family in the earlier years, never mocking my dreams and energy. They would only offer advice and wisdom to which I soon learnt the hard way not to ignore. My uncles were also involved in family businesses too, but I will tell you those stories under the furniture page. My mother was a great cook and provider, she took pride in her work as she was a respected pastry chef at the top branch of John Lewis in central London. On my father’s side we had still more creativity, my father and his sister Rita, both artists and artisans, creating and selling too. My aunty Rita had a gallery and associated business with others, this is where I started to learn and evolve in my working life at the age of 16.
Later in life after having a gallery in Maldon myself, I would continue to sell art produced, all the time learning the trade. During that time, I met, and went on to sell and manage other artists work, this including a landscape artist Graham Petley. He is an artist to Royal families in several countries. I have also now supplied art panels and plinths to local artists such as Rachel Wiles, Sara Johnson, Paul Green and Dan Broughton, with bespoke panels also being made for prominent buildings in Hong Kong and Beijing.

Also, my very talented sister Michelle . She is a former dancer and part-time actress, now practising as a full-time artist and artisan herself. Her work also encourages the textures of the human and muscular forms too.

Also, I have had the pleasure of owning a Siberian husky “Tahoe.” I had him by my side for most of the 15 years of his life. Along with other family pets, I have grown to appreciate the expression and detail that can be recreated in sculpture, together with the messages it can send to the individual enjoying it.

Nature, especially trees, and now wildlife too has brought me great pleasure, as it does for most of us. This has played a big part in my life, encouraging development of creativity, calming the mind and soul.

The link with memories within my work has come from many losses experienced. As with all of us, these are not just in the human or animal form. This may be why I joined for a very rewarding, life directing funeral and coroner service work experience. Through this process I have also grown to celebrate the good, especially the living, and how that sculpture can also provide this feeling, doing it through its creativity of ideas and positivity.

Stephen J Turner - Artisan
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