How did you come to be a sculptor?
My grandfather was a carpenter. I can hardly remember him, I was hardly ever in his workshop, but a bit of that was always in my life and I’ve always made things with my hands. At art school I started off doing a bit of everything but very quickly I found the sculpture department.
What was the first object you made?
When I was little, about ten, I was allowed to have a very sharp little penknife. I don’t know why but things were different in those days! I could sharpen it like a razor – I still have all the scars on my hand to show for it. I used to carve wooden boats with it.
© Julian Schwarz
What inspires the work that you do?
They say that writers read a huge amount, not in order to copy but rather to absorb, digest and have their own approach. It’s the same for me. I’ve always visited museums, not to steal ideas but just to look at it all and absorb it.
Why don’t you use sandpaper?
I quite like the surface without it. Once when I was a student I visited the V&A and there was a big carved Buddha. It was probably painted or covered in plaster originally, but that had come off and all you could see was the work surface underneath, and I remember finding that interesting.