VIDEO: Intricate wood carvings of birds on display at Horsham Museum

A fascinating collection of intricately woodcarved birds is on display at Horsham Museum until April.

Robert Fielding, 70, from Chapel Road, Bolney, a retired mechanical design engineer, has spent the last 18 years honing his craft in his spare time.

JPCT 070213 Exhibition of bird carvings by Robert Fielding at Horsham museum. Photo by Derek Martin

JPCT 070213 Exhibition of bird carvings by Robert Fielding at Horsham museum. Photo by Derek Martin

The exhibition entitled ‘From Feather to Wood’ showcases some of his finest work, with partridges, owls and ducks amongst other birds displayed.

Given his first chisel by his son, he saw a woodcarving of a leaping trout, and was so impressed he thought he would give it a try.

“I saw a leaping trout in a magazine and I thought I could be making that,” he said. “In the beginning it was trial and error, but I do not make many errors now.”

As well as the finished articles, there are some unfinished pieces to demonstrate to visitors the stages in the process that Bob goes through.

He began work in his garage and then moved to work in his bedroom, but now has a dedicated workshop.

While Bob started using a chisel, he now uses a power carver.

He has lived in the area for most of his life, living in Faygate and Lower Beeding before moving to Bolney, and was a member of the Henfield Arts Club and the Horsham Arts Society, and is part of the Sussex Woodcraft Society.

Working from images or photographs, he aims to produce a life-sized model of each species, at least in most cases.

He ascribes the skill to making sure the little details are correct, such as turning the head to make the carvings more lifelike, and including the head channels and cheeks. Each piece is created from a single block of wood, apart from the pewter legs and glass eyes.

He added: “I’ve always had a passing interest in birds. I find them easy to do.”