After graduating from Farnham College of Art in 1988 with a degree in fine art, Paul pursued a career in painting. Although enjoying a number of commissions, a chance meeting near his West Country home, saw Paul's career take a different path.
The meeting was with renowned carver Dominic Hurley, known for his stunning work on Exeter cathedral. Paul was invited to the artist's studio and was inspired. "I walked into Dominic's workshop and from knee deep layers of stone dust, these fantastic creatures appeared."
Paul joined as an apprentice and soon discovered that he had a natural talent for carving. Just a year later Paul set off on his own and soon built a reputation for his quality of carving and artistic eye.
Deciding to specialise in high quality, hand carved marble and stone chimneypieces, Paul worked extensively with English Heritage, restoring and reproducing important historic pieces around the country - And in 2000, with a number of prestigious commissions under his belt, Paul was invited to join the Master Carvers Association (a small and elite group).
Now recognised as one of Europe's leading artistic carvers and designers, by top architects and interior designers, Paul enjoys working on a range of projects from unique carved architectural features, to stand alone sculpture for companies and private clients. Paul's wealth of experience, vision and sensitivity to context, brings integrity, style and pure artistry to every project he takes on.
All design and carving projects begin with an artist and client meeting, where the requirements of the work and ideas can be discussed in depth. Clients can see examples of previous projects, along with references for style and design. In most cases a visit to the location is essential, so Paul can get a good idea of the style, mood and proportions of the surroundings.
When the brief is understood and agreed by all parties, Paul will produce a series of initial sketches for further discussion.
Days of research and design culminate in a bound Presentation Portfolio, complete with visual reference material from our extensive library, along with information on all appropriate materials from the finest marble, to glass, wood, steel or gold leaf - whatever the design requires. And as you'd expect from a fine artist, the portfolio includes delicate drawings and beautiful watercolour paintings for each design, to give the client a true sense of how Paul's designs will work in situ.
Once a design is approved and the commission for carving placed. Paul produces a full scale drawing (hand drawn and a beautiful keepsake). Detailed carved elements are initially crafted in clay to show exact dimensions and highlight the intricacies of the design, it also gives Paul a three dimensional piece from which to work. Modelling clay maquettes is another opportunity for the client to discuss and if necessary, change the detail prior to carving.
When the drawings and clay work are all approved, the serious business of carving can commence. Paul carves from only the best materials, Italian statuary marble, specialist marbles and locally sourced Bath and Portland stone. Each piece personally selected by Paul for the individual commissions. And it follows, that any other materials that need to be incorporated in a project will also be of the highest possible quality.
All carving is carried out in Paul's studio workshop in Somerset, with each piece carved entirety by hand, using traditional tools and techniques. (Photographic documentation of progress can be sent to clients throughout the project, giving them a fascinating insight into the creative process.)
The continual dialogue between client and artist throughout the process is crucial when you're commissioning a bespoke piece. It ensures that the final work is more personal than anything bought off the shelf - And being unique, it commands so much more value as a work of art.
If you'd like to commission Paul Spencer now or in the future, or would like more information, call Tracey Baker on 01458 273393.