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Artwork by Patrick DolanMore Information

Interview with Peter Leadbeater – Chainsaw Sculptor

Broxtowe tree beard

When Peter got in touch with us at Creative Towers, his brilliant Broxtowe Tree Beard (above) meant I was destined to interview him – nominative determinism strikes again.

Peter Leadbeater and chainsawWhat Brought you to Nottingham?

About 6 years ago I had come to a stage in my life where I wanted a change, to live elsewhere and have some new experiences. I had lived in Kent for most of my life, and after selling my flat I just couldn’t find anywhere where I wanted to put my roots down. I  spent some time on the web researching and decided to visit Nottingham. I was impressed from the start and have not been disappointed since.

What keeps you in Nottingham?

Many things. I particularly enjoy the wonderful art galleries and local craft scene and of course, the  huge range of  restaurants and bars! The events that occur throughout the year are always of interest and I have enjoyed music, art and cultural shows among others.  I like the contrast of the constant bustle in the city centre and the plentiful and beautiful green open spaces.  I have made some great friends here, am now married and feel very ‘at home’.

Where do I see yourself in Five Years time?

I am very lucky to have a constant stream of commissions which take me all over the country and I hope that this continues well into the future. I would like to shift the style of some of my work into more abstract landscape sculptures. However if I continue to get the range of interesting projects I am currently working on I will be a happy man!

Totem in Arnot Hill Park, GedlingWhat do you think is Nottingham’s best kept secret?

Now that is a tricky question. One of the things I enjoy the most about spending time in the city centre is looking up and admiring the amazing details on the many different styles of building. There is so much to be seen and enjoyed. Nottingham is a very beautiful roof top city.

What big thing are you currently working on?

I currently have several projects on the go all at various stages. The ones that I am most excited about are firstly the creation of a 3 metre tall timber framed viewing pod which will be situated in the the courtyard area of the Guildhall in Leicester. Secondly, I am very much looking forward to a project later in the year; a  large landscape abstract which will be installed at Beacon Hill Country Park (just south of Loughborough). This is where my workshop is based.

Where can we see your work in and around Nottingham?

Although I have lived here for quite a few years, it is only in the last year or so that I have been commissioned to make any public sculpture in the Nottingham area. These sculptures include

  • A Tree beard in the Spinny on Trough road, Watnall
  • A Totem sculpture in Arnot Hill Park Gedling.  The design for this is based on ideas that came from a workshop with children from a local school.
  • A trinity carving in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Hucknall.
  • I was also commissioned to create a series of 10 sculptures from tree trunks in the grounds of Westdale Junior school. Again the designs for these sculptures came out of a series of workshops with all of the children at the school.

Trinity carving in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul's Church in HucknallWhy a chainsaw?

There is no tool like it. I have a range of saws ranging from a 90cc saw down to a 23cc saw and this  allows a great degree of versatility, from the sheer grunt power required to work on an 8 metre tall tree measuring a metre in diameter, all the way to the refining of small details on a carving.

Finally, do you ever get tired of jokes about ‘massacre’ and ‘Texas’?

Strangely enough that doesn’t come up much, but that might be because I am the one holding the chainsaw!

Thanks for talking to us, Peter.

If you want to know more about Peter, he has a website and a Facebook page.  If you want to read more about tree sculptures in Nottingham, see our December blogpost about the tram trees.