I started sculpting in stone about twelve years ago after retiring from a career in the natural sciences.  In the Charente Maritime in France where I live there is a long tradition of quarrying, cutting and carving limestone for churches, buildings and art works. In 2007 I joined the Heritage Workshop in Saintes and picked up the basics of using hand tools to carve limestone.  I use the local stone from Crazannes and Thenac.

My current work still centers on depicting the female figure in a range of different poses as I am fascinated by the variation in shape with age and body size and how the curves and folds change with posture and movement. However, I am also experimenting with a variety of abstract forms often involving piercing shaped blocks to reveal internal spaces and to link them to surface features.

It is unusual to represent typical people in formal sculpture; an idealised shape is often chosen driven by the current ideas on femininity or masculinity as depicted in the media and advertising which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and discontent with one's body.  This I think is sad so I want to show the beauty in all body forms and believe that it should be respected and celebrated. 
 
I have been surprised that my work is appreciated and brings pleasure to so many people.  As a result I have specialised in creating small statuettes, torsos and reliefs. Sometimes they are abstract but more usually they are realistic, having been requested by an individual to represent themselves.  For these representational works I use digital photographs either taken by myself or sent to me by the subject.  To date I have completed over 90 requested works mainly of women but I have also made statuettes and bas reliefs  of men and couples.  I exhibit with local art groups and give demonstrations at events in the region.

In the galleries you will see examples of my work.  Many of them are with their new owners but could be repeated again, some I still have and are for sale.  However if you are interested in having a stone sculpture of yourself or a loved one (minimum age 18; no upper limit!) made from photos please contact me so that we can discuss and agree the details. I will also consider carving architectural elements and abstract forms so let me have your ideas as I enjoy a challenge!

Richard Cooter