Anthony Bryant

Anthony Bryant is internationally recognised for his work in 'green' woodturning. Working from his studio in Cornwall, Anthony creates work which stretches the potential of the material to its limits, both in scale and its breathtaking thinness. His thin walled green-turned wood pots showcase the technique he has developed since he began woodturning at the age of 13, with many pieces so fine the light shines through.

Wood Artist

Anthony Bryant

South West England

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THE PROCESS

Anthony turns his pieces, using his own hand-made tools, over the space of a few days whilst the wood is green and still full of sap. During the drying process the material warps into its eventual shape. Anthony only uses English wood, such as an oak or ash, for their unique aesthetic and materiality. He has concentrated on honing very thin-walled pieces using green timber which is softer and lends itself best to turning thin.

Q&A

1. What motivates you to make?

My motivation comes from life and from meeting interesting people. Back in the early 80s when I got involved in the creative world (not just in wood, but all sorts of art spheres) the people that I met pointed me in the right direction. They helped me improve and become braver, encouraging me to push the material as far as possible. Most craftsmen have a material that they love and feel an affinity with, my love of wood started at an early age. My father was a builder/carpenter and I had access to workshops, so I was always making things as a child. Wood turning fascinated me, I felt an affinity with the material and was instantly motivated to improve. I’m always trying to turn the perfect piece.

2. What and/or who are you most inspired or influenced by?

In 1980 I went on a wood turning course and met a wonderful mentor who taught me everything he knew. I learnt a huge amount from this man, but he wasn’t from the artworld, he was an industrial wood turner making very beautiful, precise work. For me, inspiration comes from a combination of the material and the people I meet along the way. I only work with British hardwoods and over time you develop the skills and experience to identify how far to push your material. I now look at a tree and can work out exactly what’s going on, I know that certain woods warp more than others, cut differently and smell differently – it’s about knowing which direction the material is going to bend and cutting accordingly, so that when it warps, it looks good. Fundamentally, the whole creative experience is full of happy accidents but you need to have the knowledge.

3. What is your unique approach to your craft, and how have you honed your skills?

Making complicated work isn’t interesting to me. I have concentrated on honing very thin-walled pieces using green timber which is softer and lends itself best to turning thin, it’s full of sap and it will cut better than dry wood.

When I start a piece, I know exactly what I want to do with it. Every tree will have splits and knots and I can use these defects to my advantage. The secret is cutting the tree up carefully, discarding the defects you don’t want and preserving the ones you do. There’s a very high skill ratio with wood turning and a good eye is enormously important, but when I first started I couldn’t tell what was good or bad. My philosophy is all about steady improvement. Over time I developed my own personal style but this didn’t arrive overnight; it took years to hone my craft. I have spent an awful lot of my life in a truck, visiting muddy timber yards, or in a wood sawing up trees. I love getting my hands dirty and think if you don’t have that thrill then you need to give up.

4. What is your defining or proudest moment as a maker so far?

I have pieces in various collections such as the Fitzwilliam Gallery, Contemporary Art Society and Crafts Council, but I think the biggest personal achievement is to survive as a maker. It’s beyond tough, but if you can manage to do what you want to do, without relying on a sideline to pay your way, it’s a real achievement.

5. What is your dream project?

With my wood vessels there isn’t really a dream project or sculpture. I like to work freely, so the dream really is to sell work. The Yew that I've been working with during lockdown has been one of my top experiences. It was more money than I’d usually spend on a tree, especially without seeing it first, but we agreed on a price and it came down on a lorry to Cornwall. It tested all my skills, I worked incredibly hard and sharpened my tools more than I’ve ever done before. The material was really spectacular (a tree of veneer quality) and the resulting pieces are very special.

 

To be kept informed about new collections from Anthony Bryant, please email [email protected]

ALL PRODUCTS

 

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11 Products found

  1. Large Ash Vessel XI by Anthony Bryant
    Large Ash Vessel XI
    Anthony Bryant
    £2,800
  2. Large Ash Vessel XII by Anthony Bryant
    Large Ash Vessel XII
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,400
  3. Tall Ash Vessel V by Anthony Bryant
    Tall Ash Vessel V
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    11 Products found

    Anthony Bryant
    £3,200
    Out of stock
  4. Large Elm Vessel I by Anthony Bryant
    Large Elm Vessel I
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    11 Products found

    Anthony Bryant
    £3,200
    Out of stock
  5. Large Elm Vessel II by Anthony Bryant
    Large Elm Vessel II
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,800
  6. Large Elm Vessel III by Anthony Bryant
    Large Elm Vessel III
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,400
  7. Large Elm Vessel IV by Anthony Bryant
    Large Elm Vessel IV
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    11 Products found

    Anthony Bryant
    £4,200
    Out of stock
  8. Large Chestnut Vessel by Anthony Bryant
    Large Chestnut Vessel
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    11 Products found

    Anthony Bryant
    £4,800
    Out of stock
  9. Large Ash Vessel X
    Large Ash Vessel X
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,400
  10. Tall Ash Vessel III by Anthony Bryant
    Tall Ash Vessel III
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,400
  11. Tall Ash Vessel IV by Anthony Bryant
    Tall Ash Vessel IV
    Anthony Bryant
    £4,400
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11 Products found

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