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Sunday, 3 February 2013

Guy Taplin: Driftwood sculptures by Essex artist sell for thousands

Driftwood found on the Essex coast and transformed into avian sculptures by an untrained artist, is selling for thousands of pounds to a growing fan base of celebrity collectors.

Twenty Scarlett Ibis (detail) by Guy Taplin
Taplin's 20 Scarlet Ibis, created from found materials and cedar wood, is valued at £32,500

Guy Taplin, 73, from Wivenhoe, spends hours collecting natural materials during a daily pilgrimage along the shoreline near his studio, looking for inspiration from the birdlife among the "transitory" nature of the tides and objects with a history.
His work also now features household items that were used to "pack" Seawick beach, near Clacton-on-Sea, after it was damaged during the floods of 1953. "It's all being eroded away now so things just appear," he said.
"I found what must have been a drain plug out of a sink, it was copper, beautifully green with holes in and like a time-capsule."
Born an east end cockney in 1939 and describing himself as a "barrow-boy at heart", Taplin has worked as an artist for more than 30 years following an eclectic career.
Previous jobs have included military service, selling fashion on London's Carnaby Street during the swinging '60s and working as a bird keeper in Regent's Park while training to become a Buddhist monk.
His latest collection of work, featuring more than 60 pieces, goes on show at London's Messum's gallery on 6 February - it is expected to sell for about £500,000.

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