Wooden art for blues band guitarist

David Robinson at his exhibition in West Studios, Chesterfield
David Robinson at his exhibition in West Studios, Chesterfield

A north Derbyshire wood carver is exhibiting his works of art for the first time in 20 years of giving new life to old timber.

David Robinson makes and restores furniture as well as producing sculptures and carvings from reclaimed wood.

Hydra, carving by David Robinson

Hydra, carving by David Robinson

Classical myth and legend and contemporary designs feature in his creations which are currently on show at West Studios, Chesterfield.

The exhibition is dominated by a large carved structure depicting gargoyles of Loki, the trickster god of Norse mythology, and Thor, the god of violent storms and oak trees; one sticking its tongue out at the other. David said: “I am a bit of a sucker for Vikings and Anglo Saxons.”

Its price tag of £300 make the structure the most expensive piece in the exhibition but a snip when considering the hours of craftsmanship which has gone into it. David said: “If you were buying the wood to make it, you’d be getting on for that amount of money.”

Purse-friendly products at £20 include tactile ornaments made from silver birch, including an egg collector with a surprise in the base of the lid where there is an art deco inlay made of American black walnut.

The art deco theme continues in the angular lines of a metronome cabinet and a triangular-shaped chair.

David, who lives at Ashgate, Chesterfield, is best known as the lead guitarist for The Idle Hands Blues Band. His musical roots are apparent in the exhibition where a piece of furniture pays homage to a legendary rock band. He said: “The musical chair is inspired by The Crunge - a track from Led Zeppelin. It is a stool but part stepladder.”

A sculpture of a child peers through the window at the entrance to the exhibition. David said: “This was made from holly I found in a skip. I just saw it and thought of a cherub.

“Then I realised that I couildn’t reference it - I couldn’t say to someone, ‘can I i have a look at your child’ so it came from what I saw in the wood.”

Other sculptures include Hydra made from lime, a wood favoured by George I’s master craftsman Grinling Gibbons whose carvings can be seen at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace.

David works as a technician at Bolsover School where he has crafted a 5ft sculpture of Hogwarts, the training academy for wizards in the Harry Potter stories.

He said: “My favourite wood to work with is oak. it is just a good solid timber. Teak can be difficult because the dust can get on your chest.”

His exhibition, entitled Wood: Reclamation, Restoration and Inspiration is open at West Studios, part of the Chesterfield College building, on Sheffield Road, Chesterfield, until February 12. Opening times are 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday and 9.30am to 12.30pm Saturday. Admission is free.