Featured artist

Ric Kirk

 

I was born in Bedford and am living here still, although leaving on many occasions to pursue a career as a chef, seeing this as a means to travel the world and be paid to do so.

After working in several restaurants / hotels, I was accepted by the Savoy Group in London to train and learn in all departments, with day release at my college in Waterloo. I worked at The Connaught Hotel and its sister hotel 'Claridges' around the corner in Mayfair for several years, which gave me a good grounding.

I began my seafaring days with P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, where they filmed the first Love Boat film (a bit of a cringe, that!). I was sailing at sea for 15 years on various ships, including SS Uganda during the Falklands War (a great adventure!), sailing to many parts of the globe on world cruises and parts thereof. Whilst on board Oriana in Australia I was asked to commemorate 'Anzac Day' for which I tried pastry margarine for the first time and loved it. Solid blocks of white, cream, and ivory which can be warmed in the hand then moulded into shape. I made a large sculpture of two soldiers with memorials and cross holding rifles, and was amazed as slowly their faces came to life.

I was hooked on the stuff, and began to build increasingly elaborate centre pieces for deck buffets - including eagles, swans with signets, flying fish, and dolphins. Some made with sections for easier transportation, sometimes refrigerated and resurrected to be displayed on later occasions for use on other cruises. Sometimes I used the ship morgue when short of fridge space - until the surgeon rang to say “vacate”, as he had a customer! I also loved the carving of large ice blocks - which is exhilarating, but scary, as you have to be swift!

On leaving sea I became Chef at Sweetings Nightclub then at a Hotel Restaurant in the area. I was forced to fight a tribunal case when a new company took over and wanted to replace me with someone on a lower wage. It took several years, but I eventually won my case. In the meantime I went on a Government re-training scheme to learn welding and was told to use a space “to get on with one of your little sculptures”. I took advantage of this and, left to my own devices, two years later and broke, up sprung a larger than life Golden Eagle in pursuit of a Mountain Hare, with side panels of steel Autumn Leaves and a smaller-sized Eagle Owl coloured naturally with oxyacetylene gas heat and lacquered. Its dimensions were 7'9" (Height) x 10'6” (Length).

The workshop was closing down so I arranged an Exhibition at Bedford Library's Mezzanine space, alongside some of my other limited creations; limited edition birds of prey, portraits, pottery, cat paintings, etc. It went very well and afterwards went on to being displayed at the County Hall. Kempi Welding Machine Makers saw them and they offered me a space in their unit nearby, where I went on to make other work. The BBC programme 'About Anglia' made and televised a short film featuring my work around this time.

Then the Mall Galleries, London saw the film and gave me a large space in one room in their annual Society of Wildlife Artists Exhibition, and it was also displayed at The Alexandra Palace Art Show. It was a joy to make this Eagle piece (the best creative years of my life), but it was a nightmare to transport. I've learnt my lesson, size isn't everything)!

I am a member of Bedford Art Society and more recently, of the FPAA - although I haven't shown or produced art for years for some reason. I enjoy the Society's events and discovering new well-crafted art. I hope to return to active art production one day when retirement comes around and brings the free time and space to work creatively again.


 

 


 

 


 

 


Bald Eagle

 


Osprey

 


Falcon

 


Eagle & Cobra

Pastry margerine


 

 


   
   

 

 

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