Jilly Sutton came from a family of tree nurserymen – but, if her love of wood is inherited, her vision is peculiarly her own. Wood is a living medium. To carve it – to follow its lines, to respect its limits, to unlock its secrets – requires not only a skilful hand but an artistic spirit.
Having spent several years in Nigeria (learning the art of indigo dying) there is something reminiscent of African carving in her work. But this is tempered by other influences; by the art of Mitoriaj and Brancusi, by close observation of life, and above all by a responsiveness to the promptings of her block of wood.
Jilly’s work is arresting but at the same time there is an overriding feeling of serenity. There is a decisive shape and form to her pieces, but also dynamism that comes from the organic character of the material. Surface texture is important in both her 2D and 3D work.
The driving force behind her work comes from the tranquillity of her surroundings. Her wooden house and studio are on the banks of the Dart Estuary where the calmness and order of the river, continually influence the peacefulness of her sculptures. Jilly has work in private collections and public galleries, The National Portrait Gallery and The Museum of Liverpool Life.