In 2005, on his return to his native Cobh, the time seemed right, so James set up his own studio and founded Wood Carving Ireland in order to explore what had by now become his first love: figurative sculpture.
James believes his passion for
life-size sculpture is a direct result of exposure at College and an abiding personal interest in the great Classical Italian sculptors through history including Michelangelo, Bernini and Giambologna. From the outset he became ‘almost infatuated by the
powerful realism and energy’ their work still possesses today. While he is most definitely informed by work of ‘The Great Masters’, James’ own pieces have distinctive characteristics that make them uniquely HIS.
for James that ‘each piece tells its own story, each becoming an individual member of my family of work if you like’. A pieces’ uniqueness can be innate in the piece itself, can be down to the materials used, or to how James has interpreted
a clients’ wishes.
In addition to his personal projects, James takes regular commissions, describing it as ‘a hugely enjoyable interactive process, the finished piece reflecting the aspirations of the artist as well as the vision of the
client’. James likes clients to have a high level of personal input, reasoning that ‘they will look at it for the rest of their days so part of my job is to ensure they are entirely happy with the end result without taking from the artistic integrity
of the piece’. In the end ‘there’s a balance to be reached and it’s most satisfying when both parties are happy’.
Since returning to Cobh James has noticed a groundswell of interest in the craft of carving. He is delighted
to be back home, not only doing something he loves but being part of a greater movement rejuvenating an almost lost craft. The craft of traditional Sculpture.