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Haworth sculptor Craig carves out career path
9:10am Wednesday 14th August 2013 in News
Haworth artist, sculptor and photographer Craig Dyson gets up close and personal with one of his scary creations
With its outstretched wings and protruding claws it is poised ready to pounce on its prey.
The image of the bird in flight – a barn owl crafted with thousands of intricately hand-cut feathers – took Craig Dyson two months to complete and is one of many commissions he has turned his talents to since launching his sculpture studio in Haworth, where he lives.
For Craig, it is a profession born out of playing as a child. “I was fascinated by anything material, from sculpting with food to painting on walls,” he said.
After spotting his sculpting talent, Craig’s parents were keen to nurture it. A corner of the family’s living room was devoted to Craig’s creations, and his imagination was allowed to run wild.
The completion of a joinery course at Keighley College and A-levels in sports studies, photography and art led him to pursue photography studies at university, but he didn’t embrace that medium’s interpretation of art.
“I would often question what I was doing, but soon came to the conclusion art is what you want it to be and it is what you make of it,” he said.
“I don’t encourage people to read what I do in a certain way. I want them to interpret in their way and get out of it whatever they want.”
Craig’s inspiration comes partly from his travels – he spent seven months in South America, New Zealand, Australia and China.
Nature is another inspiration, hence the owl – destined for a private buyer – but he also finds it in the simplest form.
“It is everything in my day-to-day life,” he said.
Before launching his business more than a year ago, Craig started making commission pieces in between helping his father.
“Gradually, it started to take off, and I thought I would make a career out of it,” he added. “I got some funds together and looked into running a workshop.”
Craig began to look for potential venue around Bradford but found the answer at the bottom of his garden when a building owned by a construction company – ironically called Craig Dyson – became vacant. Craig’s father bought the property he now rents.
Launching a fledgling business in a recession, he admits, was daunting. “It was a move I thought long and hard about, but being brought up the way I have, I’ve always been a grafter, and to think that I would have got to 30 and regret not doing it would be the worst thing.”
Craig’s talent already speaks for itself. An 8ft copper lizard he created for his A-level art, crafted from hundreds of copper scales welded to the sculpture, sold for £7,000.
His works are dotted around the area – some of his bird sculptures have been specially commissioned and now take pride of place at local schools, and he recently showcased some pieces at Castle Howard near York.
He also runs sculpture workshops in primary schools, and was a category winner in this year’s inaugural Keighley News-backed Keighley Business Awards.
As part of the celebrations for Haworth’s 1940s weekend, Craig crafted a pigeon from sycamore, highlighting the role of the birds carrying messages during the war.
He also sculpted a model of a Spitfire with a 10ft wingspan from spalted sycamore and ash, and a golden eagle with a 6ft wing span created from copper, brass and bronze, made for a raffle supporting the charity SSAFA helping servicemen and women, veterans and their families.
Craig’s Gallery and Workshop, next to Haworth Station, is open to the public on weekdays from 9am until 5pm and from 10am until 2pm on Saturdays. Visit craigdysonsculpture.co.uk for further information.
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