Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Let Me Introduce Rob Heard ...

After his first job in a sheet metal factory left him somewhat cold and uninspired, Rob Heard headed into the woods of Somerset at just 18 years old, to get down to the macho business of tree-felling and a return to nature.

Rob has been a man of the woods ever since, averse to keyboard and pen, at one with chainsaw and chisel – living out a lifelong affinity with timber borne during a childhood where he accompanied his father, a crafter of cricket bats, on his forays to harvest willow.

Outdoor pirate ship playground
This career path gradually evolved into building timber playgrounds for children - where Rob became renowned for his trademark pirate ships. During the planning process of each playground project, he developed small-scale working models for his clients to illustrate how the finished play equipment would fit together. Rob found that these models were often ‘lost’ by his clients, whose children no doubt fell in love with these apparent 'toys' and squirreled them away to their bedrooms.
Indoor pirate ship playground

Unexpected inspiration followed when, after injuring his wrist, Rob was forced to stop lugging tree trunks and spent six months recovering from the surgery at home. During this time, he scaled down his focus and began to think big, yet in miniature, creating his first Bough House sculpture for his three young daughters. He has been creating these intricate yet robust pieces ever since.

My only limit is the height of my workshop ceiling and maybe that’s a blessing!”

“Once I start creating, I do not know where the structure will end.”  

The wooden sculptures take shape in a music-filled workshop at the bottom of Rob's garden. Each one can take up to four or five hundred hours to complete, including time spent just sitting and staring at the pieces, musing about how they are going to develop.

Inspiration usually starts with a bough of wood - cut from local trees or found lying in the fields close to Rob's home. The form follows the shape and twists of the branch, informing the design. There may be sketches, but no rigid plans and the Bough Houses develop from a sense of how Rob wants the journey within that sculpture to feel, or the way in which he would like one to be able to travel between different areas within the form.

The individual elements of the sculptures are hand cut or carved and fixed using pins and glue - right down to the last roof tile. Rob's attention to detail and meticulously accomplished workmanship mean that the structures are deceptively robust. They are not delicate, they are meant to be played with and are as strong as they are beautiful. 

In effect these are the real deal, not models, but real on a very unusual scale. Rob's children love to play with the Bough House that he built for them and the quality of workmanship has stood the test of time - but they are more than a physical thing - you can spend hours wandering the walkways and turrets and paths in your own mind. These are truly inspirational pieces of art. 

Each of Rob Heard's wooden Bough House sculptures takes several months to complete. Every intricate spiral staircase, walkway and ladder leads somewhere...inviting the imagination on a miniature exploration through an array of turrets and towers.

The sculptures can be over six feet tall and each one is completely unique, taking inspiration from the wood and the surrounding Somerset countryside.

 Follow Rob on Twitter to see how the latest sculpture is evolving.

Thanks for visiting Enchanted Revelries ... now go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)(¸.•´ 
(¸.•´♥ Tristan


Christina Paul said...

Amazing! These are magical!

Sisterhood of the Muse said...

Absolutely wondeful! Thank you for sharing Rob's incredible work!

Cynthia said...

Oh my, these are absolutely gorgeous! What a fantasy. Love the last shot with the girls sitting in the midst of these lovely creations. . .

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh Tristan, THIS IS MY WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is so much to say about this:

1. My father passed down to me, a love for miniatures. He was also a great woodworker, and never "grew up" and at the age of 82, was still creating until he passed.

2. BRAVO to this man who gave up a more cushy lifestyle to do what HE WANTS TO DO.

3. Magic. Pure magic. If only the rest of the world would create the impossible they'd see that ALL things are possible.

4. This takes us all to a better place than what power has created. Negative, looming energies just seem to dwindle in the presence of small wonders.

5. Thank you dearest friend for your kind and loving comments, your fabulous presence on my blog, and for seeing with your heart.


Nichola said...

Love! I think I've found a new imaginary boyfriend ;)