Nic Webb carves, scorches, burns, soaks and stains different species of fallen wood to create pieces that explore the natural drama of the material. He responds in a spontaneous, personal way to the individual character of each piece of wood, using intuitive processes to work in dialogue with the timber’s imperfections. He encourages cracks and splits to express themselves on the surface and contrasts areas of natural grain with highly polished smooth exteriors. The artist plays, too, with myriad shapes and forms - classical fluted vessels that swoop in graceful curves; mountainous rugged edges, or undulating dips and folds; and abrupt, angular pieces that openly reveal the artist’s sculpting hand.
To achieve his powerful works, Nic uses traditional tools, modern methods as well as experimental forms of carving; he explores the natural elements of ice, water and principally fire to shape his work in an unbound and organic manner. Webb comments that, ‘as fire journeys into wood, forms are revealed, briefly seen and quickly disappear. These vessels begin in primitive crudeness, move through varying states of function, and evolve or ‘devolve’ towards a delicate border between existence and absence. On the whole, the fire and the wood burn as they wish. As the piece concludes, I intervene, shepherd and finally halt the progress of loss at the place before all remnants of the journey are gone.’
After studying Fine Art at the University of Brighton, Nic spent several years in Cyprus before returning to London to work as a set builder. His studio is now based in the coastal region of East Sussex, UK. His work is at the forefront of British craft and has been exhibited extensively in the UK, as well as in the USA. He has pieces in significant international private collections across the world.
Woodworker Nic Webb on the South Downs hut that offers him stillness, and coffee...Hole & Corner
Nic Webb's sculptural wooden vessels go on display at Hauser & Wirth SomersetDavid Nicholls, House and Garden, June 3, 2020
Gallerist Sarah Myerscough on elevating craft to fine artNick Compton, Hole & Corner, October 1, 2017
Wood artist Nic Webb on the creative power of accidentsNic Webb, Crafts Magazine, February 25, 2016
Nic Webb & Corinne JuliusJanuary 5, 2021The third in our new series of talks between artist-designer-makers and leading commentators in the craft and design world is with artist Nic Webb and journalist Corinne Julius. They discuss the value of natural materials and hand crafted processes in creating meaningful objects that enrich our home environments, Nic’s intuitive understanding of material, the narratives behind the work and the important role of the gallery.