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Artists Bio : James McLoughlin - Sculptor

Born in Cobh, Co. Cork, James McLoughlin was awarded with the Grinling Gibbons Scholarship at the City and Guilds of London Art School and successfully completed his 3 year diploma in Ornamental Wood Carving in 2004.


James gained his work experience from Carvers and Gilders, London where he specialized in 16th, 17th & 18th Century style furniture, incl. tables, chairs, mirror frames and ornaments etc.


Furthermore, McLoughlin was awarded the William Wheeler Wood Carving Award for outstanding work at the City and Guilds of London Art School.


In 2005, on his return to his native Cobh, the time seemed right, so James set up his own studio and founded Wood Carving Ireland in order to explore what had by now become his first love: figurative sculpture.


James believes his passion for life-size sculpture is a direct result of exposure at College and an abiding personal interest in the great Classical Italian sculptors through history including Michelangelo, Bernini and Donatello. From the outset he became ‘almost infatuated by the powerful realism and energy’ their work still possesses today. While he is most definitely informed by work of ‘The Great Masters’, McLoughlin’s own fine art sculptures have distinctive characteristics that make them uniquely HIS.


It’s important for James McLoughlin that ‘each piece tells its own story, each becoming an individual member of my family of work if you like’. A pieces’ uniqueness can be innate in the piece itself, can be down to the materials used, or to how James has interpreted a clients’ wishes.


In addition to his personal projects, McLoughlin takes regular commissions, describing it as ‘a hugely enjoyable interactive process, the finished piece reflecting the aspirations of the artist as well as the vision of the client’. James likes clients to have a high level of personal input, reasoning that ‘they will look at it for the rest of their days so part of my job is to ensure they are entirely happy with the end result without taking from the artistic integrity of the piece’. In the end ‘there’s a balance to be reached and it’s most satisfying when both parties are happy’.


Since returning to Cobh James has noticed a groundswell of interest in the craft of carving. He is delighted to be back home, not only doing something he loves but being part of a greater movement rejuvenating an almost lost craft. Even though it’s not long since James set out on this journey he sees a long and fulfilling road ahead.


Materials used:

Timber : Irish Oak, Pitch Pine, Ash, Olive Ash, Walnut, Lime Wood, Beech, Spalted Beech, Cherry.

Stone : Marble, Kilkenny Lime Stone, Portland Stone.

Materials sourced from Irish suppliers.


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Pier road, Kinsale, West Cork, Ireland. Convent Road, Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland.

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