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FEATURE: ‘If my sculptures make people smile, then it makes me happy too’

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A reclaimed steel sculptor from Kirklees is braced to host his first exhibition in years after an enforced break.

Graham Jenkinson, a former steel worker, had always been interested in the arts and it was only after two redundancies that he began to sculpt on a more regular basis.

After hosting a clutch of exhibitions, Graham understandably took a break from the profession due to health issues.

But now he is raring to go again and is poised to host two displays in Liverpool and Wales this August.

Graham, from Earlsheaton, said: “All my sculptures are made from scrap metal, old tools and pieces of redundant machinery.

“I like to take that which has had a previous life then to recreate it into something new a kind of ‘metalmorphosis’.

“I’ve had a break recently but am back at it now.

“It all started when I used to work in the steel industry - after a while I thought it was time to look for something different.”

Graham, 60, then started with the concept of making sculptures and achieved some success which in turn led to being invited to display his creations to a wider audience.

He said: “I tried to sell them and then I went to a Christmas craft market one day and a lady approached me and asked me if I wanted to do an exhibition.”

That was over 15 years ago and Graham has done regular exhibitions since then, up and down the country.

He admits that he rarely has an idea of a possible creation until he composes the raw materials.

Over the years, he has spent many an hour in his garden shed as he perfects his works of art.

He said: “I go around scrap yards or second hand markets and there’s nothing in my head until I see the metal.

“Small pieces I can make in an hour or so, but the bigger designs can obviously take a lot longer.”

Among Graham’s favourite creations is a 9ft structure which he calls the ‘Tree of Life’ and which now resides in the unusual setting of a doctor’s surgery in Huddersfield.

“I find it very therapeutic,” he added.

“It still gives me pleasure and from my previous career I know how to weld and sculpt together.

“I like to keep the original components within the sculptures in the hope that people will then see every day objects in a different light and to see that the forever discarded can have beauty, shape and form.

“Most of my sculptures are quirky characters intended to make people smile and if this happens then I have achieved what I intended to do.”

For more of Graham’s designs, visit scrapman.iwarp.com.