StatementI was born in Paris in 1963, and grew up in London and Devon. Leaving school I moved north to Leek, Staffs where I undertook a 2-year B/Tec course in Art and Design. My feelings in those early days, were that I was not ready for fine art as fine art tuition was very much geared towards self expression. I wanted to learn technique. I decided to take the craft option, and learn a skill. Rather than the brush I chose chisels and the lovely, warm smoothness of wood to be my medium.
Returning to London I completed a 3-year Higher National Diploma in Carving Gilding and Polychrome Finishes at the City and Guilds of London Art School. During this time I worked in a woodcarving workshop, supplementing my knowledge and income at every spare moment for 2 years. Having completed the course, I got a job at Thomas Restorations in Maida Vale, for 3 years, working mainly for Partridges of Bond Street. There, I was exposed on a daily basis to the works of Adam, Chippendale and Hope.
Growing up in an artistic family, I have always been surrounded by interesting artefacts, which has influenced my decision to carve wood. My inspirations have largely come from the various ancient civilisations around the globe, and I greatly admire the boisterous world of the medieval cathedral carvers. I also enjoy the more sophisticated work of Hepworth and Brancusi, Braque, Calder and Moore amongst others.
Throughout my life I have always had a need to accomplish a skill before allowing myself to relax and ‘merely’ create. I used to marvel at Picasso’s early works of photographically correct paintings and juxtapose them with his later works of play. It has been important to me to learn the ABC of my chosen medium, before allowing myself the luxury of experimentation. Today in my maturity I know that it is now necessary for me to enter the world of original sculpture.
My aim is to discover pure, beautiful forms that have an ageless quality and that speak directly to our emotive centres. Unlike my earlier beliefs, to simply create is the largest challenge of my life!
Parisian born, Isabel Coulton, grew up in the bohemian art world of 1960’s France. Her grandmother was a talented painter in oils, her grandfather painted, collected works of art and discovered the now famous Bernard Buffet, whom he exhibited in his Champs Elysee gallery.
Her home was a fusion of French avant-garde and the practical quiet beauty of early carved furniture, her English father’s passion which was later to become his speciality.
Her mother, Lydia Corbett, (nee Sylvette David), once Picasso’s muse, now paints in her own right, drawing inspiration from the great master and exhibits in London’s Maddox Street.
Isabel’s love of carving must surely come from her early years, leading her away from painting towards a very traditional and meticulous skill. After two years preliminary studies in art, the City and Guilds of London Art School alone offered the grounding that she needed in carving and allied subjects.
During her studies, Isabel supplemented her knowledge and income by working at the King’s Cross Workshops, 1984-86, before being accepted for a full time position at Thomas Restorations in little Venice in 1987, working mainly for Partridges of Bond street. Here she honed her skills, everyday experiencing the work of Robert Adam, Chippendale, and Thomas Hope
Today, having made her home in Devon with husband Simon and three children, Isabel’s work has turned towards original sculpture. Combining her traditional woodcarving skills with other sculptural techniques and mediums, Isabel is developing her highly individual style, often working on large scale items, discovering bronze and being inspired by scrap and its possibilities of recycling into sculptural forms.