Adrian Swinstead - Meteorite


Adrian Swinstead - Meteorite


Bog Oaks Are Prehistoric Trees

They date from a time when the world was emerging from the last Ice Age.

It was a time of rapidly rising temperature, retreating Ice Cap and rising sea levels. The vegetation across southern Britain contained many areas of oak forest. As the sea levels rose coastal and low lying areas became too wet to sustain oak trees. Storms felled whole forests and in the more temperate climate a vegetation of sphagnum mosses and ferns became predominant. This growth entombed the fallen oaks, eventually compacting to form peat and preserving the trees in an acidic and anaerobic environment. These trees have survived millennia due to extraordinary circumstances.

These ancient oaks are a direct link with a time when the people of Britain were just starting to develop agriculture and expressing their connections to the universe through the erection of standing stones. 

Over time the colour of the trees has deepened, sometimes achieving a dense black.

Bog Oaks have a profound history.

Adrian Swinstead: A Biography

Born in London in 1950, Adrian spent his early childhood in South Africa where his parents’ fight against apartheid resulted in a rapid exit and a move to Uganda. His step-father Cecil Todd, a noted surrealist artist, was Professor of Art at Makere University, Kampala, so child care for an 8 year old Adrian meant quietly absorbing undergraduate art classes.

His art education continued at Hornsey College of Art with post graduate studies at The Slade School of Art, UCL, London.

Adrian was then drawn to music and spent 12 winters studying Classical Indian percussion, [tabla] in Calcutta with Pandit Mahaparush Misra and in Varanasi with Pandit Chhote Lal Misra.

It was at this time that he also started to work with wood, developing a passion for the creative possibilities of the material.

In the late 1980’s Adrian moved out of London, where he had predominantly worked on bespoke interiors and set up his workshop in Wendover Woods in the Chiltern Hills of Buckinghamshire. Living in a beech forest he became fascinated with finding and exploring the fine tracery found in spalted beech.

The body of work Adrian created was exhibited to critical acclaim at the Werner Krakora gallery in Vienna in 1995.

A year later Adrian had moved his workshop to Maulden Woods in Bedfordshire where his interest in  the genealogy and history of trees continued to grow. In 1999 the 10th century Abbey in Cluny, Burgundy, France hosted a further exhibition. Increasingly this fascination with the history of trees has focused on Bog Oak and the even rarer Bog Yew. 

Recent work has been exhibited in London and New York.

Adrian’s driving force is to explore the textures and natural forms of wood; creating pieces that are highly distinctive while respecting the natural beauty of its form. He mixes ancient timber with modern materials such as glass; he uses engineering techniques to create deceptively simple pieces, work that displays the beauty of natural forms.

His work is a homage to the tree.

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