Tenterden sculptor Lynda Hukins

PUBLISHED: 16:21 08 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:21 08 May 2016

Tenterden sculptor Lynda Hukins

Tenterden sculptor Lynda Hukins

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Meet the Kent artist who specialises in bronze animals and birds and is inspired by nature, the countryside and the seaside

Lynda Hukins started her artistic career rather later in life than she would have liked, as her father stopped her from attending art school to pursue a more academic path.

She has lived around the St Michael’s area of Tenterden for the last 40 years and has been in her current studio, a converted farm building originally used as a calfing facility, for the last seven. A basic square with a skylight that Lynda had put in, there is a good work bench, her tools, a sink and lots of natural light from the glass windows.

Lynda says that she has always seen in 3D, so that for her there have been no extra challenges in working as a sculptor rather than painting. “The biggest challenge is that you have to be physically strong and energetic, and you mustn’t mind getting dirty,” she laughs.

Inspired by animals, Lynda has also moved into creating abstract sculptural works. “There is no difference producing something abstract or representational, something that I can see, like a bird. Once I’ve got the idea in my head, I go from that. I do drawings. I have to be careful how big I go because if it’s a commission, a bronze can be very expensive.”

I ask if the work evolves from a design, or whether she can create exactly as she sees. “I have the idea in my head and have the passion to produce what it is I can see, which is very exciting,” she tells me.

What governs the decision to create figurative or abstract? “I have to be slightly commercial, sometimes I have to produce something that will sell, in order to do what I want,” she says.

“Abstract is more difficult to sell; I would do a lot more abstract, but I can’t afford to. A lot of people have a need to understand a work and need to ask ‘what is it?’ The majority don’t understand abstract.”

Lynda explains to me her process of creating a sculpture. “I do make sketches, but I don’t create maquettes. From the beginning I might have ideas from nature and may sketch and then decide what medium I am going to use. At the moment I am using polystyrene, although I used to use wood and sometimes clay.

“I start to sculpt: it’s a process of sculpting down in polystyrene and building up in clay. A polystyrene piece cannot go to the foundry as the work would dissolve, so I apply plaster, possibly mixed with straw to get texture.

“When I’m 100 per cent happy, I go to the foundry in Matfield and they perform a lost wax process, which takes six to eight weeks. I then work on the wax using hot tools before the casting process commences, which may take another four to five weeks for a bronze. Then we start to apply difference chemicals to get colour.”

So what decides the colour? “The colours may range from browns to greeny colours, my tones of choice. There is a process of patination and then the sculpture is waxed again.”

“I used to work in wood but I got to the age when lifting bits of lime and finding wood was getting difficult. Then in 1995 a mentor at the foundry who encouraged me to cast in bronze.”

Lynda’s inspiration is nature, the countryside and the seaside. When younger she travelled to Italy and become enthusiastic about the works of Michelangelo, one of her heroes (she also admires Barbara Hepworth and Elisabeth Frink), and from that time on she wanted to sculpt.

I ask Lynda if art can help in the understanding of life. ”That is a difficult question, but I think art can give a huge amount of pleasure. I think this helps in understanding life. It can make people thoughtful and it’s helpful to produce art for people with mental health problems.

“My friend Naomi Blake was in Auschwitz and works on the suffering of the Jews. However, if you can make somebody laugh or smile, I think you’ve achieved something. Art is incredibly important to me and I think it is for most people”.

For artists who wishes to choose sculpture as a medium, Lynda advises “if they have a passion for 3D then they must go ahead and do it.”

For herself, Lynda’s ambition is to continue to produce her work for sculpture gardens and commissions.

Get in touch

Contact Lynda Hukins for appointments and commissions on 01580 291129

You can see Lynda’s work at the Chart Hills Golf Club, Weeks Lane, Biddenden TN27 8JX

Also visit www.artparks.co.uk and www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD08bfYG2AE to see some of Lynda’s sculptures.

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