Keith Simpson

Keith’s interest in Africa began when he spent a year after school in Zimbabwe (1984) teaching maths and chemistry for a year before going on to study engineering. After qualifying Keith started as a civil engineer in 1990 in Cambridge and has retained strong ties to development work. Keith started sculpture using clay in 1991 at local village college evening classes. These classes allowed him a chance to develop his creative side and most of his early work was figurative abstract sculpture until he was challenged by a class tutor to use other mediums. In 2007 his wirework started to evolve. Tree-work grew initially during time in East Timor where he was working on rural water supply projects. Since 2016 Cambridge Open Studios have provided a platform for his work and has had recent successes at Battersea AAF, Edinburgh AF and Cheltenham FRESH art fair.

Trees have inspired Keith all his life growing up with a massive oak tree near his backdoor and during work in Africa and the Far East. The massive white acacias shading the coffee in East Timor and the dripping roots of the Banyan trees have influenced the hand picked bases, the trees forms and their root structure. Trees have seasonal variations, a connection to earth and amazing structural variety; their permanence transcends the human life span. Keith sees his trees as a fusion between the natural bases and the manmade wire. Each tree is unique and handmade of continuous wire, hence the name “onepieceofwire” and they vary in size and nature. Recently Keith completed a tree using over 1km of wire with more than 10,000 leaves. Keith believes everyone’s innate creativity should be explored and has held wire workshops for people aged from 5 to 85 and is planning some in Cambridge later this year. Sculpture provides Keith with periods of calm and focused attention and is a great contrast to his day job and he makes contributions to various local and international charities that he supports. He still loves working with clay to give his fingers a change from all the wire twisting..!