Michael J Mawdsley is a highly skilled and talented sculptor of considerable experience and success. Michael`s sculptural work to date covers the triad of African Wildlife, the Human Form and Local Flora. The whole process of taking a basic idea through to clay maquette through to a finished bronze is what challenges and satisfies him.
Michael John Mawdsley was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (then called Rhodesia) and grew up in Durban, South Africa. Trained as a goldsmith, Michael spent over 25 years working as a jeweller creating fine pieces, before taking his experience gained in this industry to pursue his ultimate passion... to work with bronze.
Michael finds the bronze art form ultimately more challenging and stimulating. He has real heart for South Africa, and this is more than evident in the stunning work he produces. Today he is one of South Africa`s top celebrated bronze sculptors. Many collectors travel to the beautiful mountains in the Natal Midlands, where Michael now resides and works.
His incredible talent resulted in him being selected as one of a few artists commissioned by celebrity Dali Tambo (son of stalwart Oliver Tambo) for the National Heritage Project - a five year project zoned for public display in a Nature Reserve in South Africa and funded by the SA Department of Arts and Culture. This project features various life-sized bronze statues of struggle veterans and freedom fighters, dating from the 1600`s to 1994, all standing in a winding procession called "The Long March to Freedom". Michael has so far completed two statues for this project, i.e. Mzilikazi and Dalasile.
Jeff is originally from Harare in Zimbabwe where he grew up making his own toys from wire from an early age. He now resides in Cape Town South Africa. After leaving school in 1994, he started studying crafting with chicken wire by working from photographs. This gave him a grounding in creating wire art, but it was directed more at commercial crafting to sell to the passing trade. He saw this as a stepping stone, as his aim was to become an artist, creating works of value that would make people sit up and say, "Wow"!
Jeff sold craft for about six years before he joined the renowned "Streetwires" in Cape Town, South Africa in 2000 as a designer. He is one of the founding members of "Streetwires", which now employs more than 60 crafters.
Jeff spent many years learning the art of creating lifelike sculptures using chicken wire. This medium allows the artist to exercise considerable flexibility using a durable medium that retains the shape well. It is however a very specialised sculpture art form and complex pieces can take a considerable length of time to complete. These sculptures are often enhanced by painting to provide a more real life impact.
Jeff achieved his acclaim when he created the Nelson Mandela Madiba bust, which was a 4 month process, and entered it into the Democracy X exhibition Cape Town CCDI 2004 competition titled "The Living Legend" and won first prize (category). He followed this in 2006 with a larger than life sized statue of Madiba entitled "First Step to Freedom", which is now on display at the Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, and, had two sculptures on display at the 9th South African Design Indaba - "Mohammed Ali" (Cassius Clay) and "Madiba" (Nelson Mandela). He also exhibited his work at the Brett Kebble art awards, AMS Give Them Wings exhibition.
Around 2008, Jeff was looking for a sculpting approach which would allow the flexibility of chicken wire sculpting, but using separate random wire pieces. Over the next few years he developed a technique he calls "Random Wire Sculpture", which allows the ability to create high quality sculptures more easily than using chickenwire, while having the ability to capture the essence of movement required to accurately portray African wildlife in an extremely lifelike manner. These unique artworks are very much in demand due to their very lifelike quality. In particular, his portrayal of the Cape Mountain leopard is unique.
Jeff has taken this technique and has trained over 600 aspiring wire sculptors and crafters in adapting his technique to creating lifelike small animals for the tourist trade.