Isaac Smart's

Come and enjoy our gallery which supports over forty talented designer makers. Open Tuesday – Saturday 11.00 am – 4.00 pm.

Philip Nelson

Pintail_hen1Philip Nelson’s carvings are so realistic and the standard of craftsmanship so high, including each detail of the finest feather, that one expects the birds to fly as one approaches.  Every sculpture is unique, in the true sense of the word, carved from a single, solid block of lime wood, with no attachments such as separate wings or feathers.  It takes eight weeks to six months to complete a sculpture depending on its size and complexity.

Born in 1966 in north Wales, where he still lives, Philip Nelson showed an interest and aptitude for carving at an early age.  When he was seven years old he presented an appreciative head teacher with an owl he had sculpted from wood.  He trained as a cabinetmaker but after achieving international recognition for his carving of waterfowl he has concentrated on sculpting.  Some of his early work in 1987 won the admiration of H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Philip Nelson has made decoy carving into an art appreciated by the connoisseur.  His work is on display at Nature in Art – the international centre for wildlife art at Twigworth, Gloucester where his is the only example of decorative decoy carving accepted for exhibition and where he has held master classes for some of the top British carvers.  This together with an exhibition of his work at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Maryland U.S.A. led to an invitation to exhibit at the prestigious Easton Waterfowl Festival, in the same state.  The new millennium saw him show work at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Sculpture in Norfolk where he won two ‘Best in Show’ awards.  He was also awarded ‘Best in Show’ on four occasions in the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art held annually in the north west of England.  His work has been part of the ‘Best of the Best’ exhibition at the Art in Action event in Oxford.  His mastery of his art is widely acknowledged and he has twice been invited to be a senior judge, and chief judge, at the British Decoy and Wildfowl Carving Association’s competitions at Slimbridge, Gloucester, as well as chief judge for the Bakewell Festival of Bird Art.In 2012, Nature in Art showed a 25 year retrospective of his work entitled ‘I carved until I set it free’.

Recently, Philip has concentrated more on the art of the miniature bird and in 2013 was awarded The Gold Memorial Bowl for the best exhibit, a Mallard drake, at The Royal Miniature Society show. In 2015, his miniature Shoveler pair was awarded a commendation at the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition and a miniature Shoveler drake won the award, The Best 3D exhibit at The National Exhibition of Wildlife Art.



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