Jilly Sutton's family in the two preceding paternal generations made a living from propagating trees. She works mainly as a wood carver in her studio beside the River Dart and the serenity and peacefulness of her surroundings are reflected in her work. The sculptures, often heads, are mainly figurative, but abstraction is also part of the oeuvre.
'Working with the vagaries of the organic nature of wood never ceases to be a challenge, but the warmth, grain and embodied life of ancient trees are a constant source of wonder and inspiration to me. The medium itself frequently gives the sculpted heads the same compelling tranquility which you recognize in living trees.'
For many years she lived in Nigeria and drew enormous inspiration from the various art forms that flourished there, not only those in wood but also in textiles.
'The grain of the timber, the tactile surface texture and often bleached colouring of my carvings are all important to me. They stem originally from collections of silvery driftwood from the river, the ancient trees around our house, and a love of the warmth of wood.'