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‘Moorland Meeting’

This life-sized sculpture was commissioned as a gift for a keen ornithologist who lives in Scotland. The wheatear bird is one of his favourites and is often seen perching on stones and gorse bushes when travelling through uplands in Britain. The title ‘Moorland Meeting’ came after having seen these beautiful birds many times while walking on Dartmoor in Devon.

I thought that the inquisitive bird needed something to look at, so added the banded snail. Wheatears do sometimes eat snails, but I think that the one in this encounter is probably big enough to survive it.

a painted woodcarving of a wheatear bird and a banded snail


The bird was carved using Liriodendron (tulip poplar) wood, with inlaid eyes made from reclaimed Indian ebony. If you’re wondering, I didn’t carve the legs – they were rebuilt from bought pewter ones. The snail is tulip poplar wood with boxwood horns. Although I’ve carved many birds over the years, this was the first life-sized sculpture that was painted to look as realistic as possible.

The ‘stones’ that serve as the base for the meeting between this moorland bird and the snail were made from a rather special offcut of sequoia wood, which was produced while making the sculpture ‘New Beginnings‘ for the artist Luke Jerram in 2022. The client specifically asked if it could be used as part of this piece.

Painted woodcarving of a wheatear bird looking at a banded snail on a pile of stones