Ralph Baney working in his studioAs a wood sculptor, my method of work has been to let the material dictate in what direction I should go. I respond to the natural torsions of the wood and cooperate with it rather than fight against it. In many cases I try to get the ultimate in refinement of the form and surface quality in order to bring out the inherent beauty of the material.

I turned to wood because there was an abundance of it in my native Trinidad and Tobago. I feel a very strong affinity to wood. I like its structure, warmth and working characteristics which I find very responsive to the kinds of forms I wish to make. In the final analysis form is what matters to me. I therefore concern myself with the dynamics of how I can get the wood to “move” and come alive. I apply the same principles in my stone, bronze and ceramic sculptures.

Ralph working in his studio 2



Recently I have been using power tools to remove wood and I leave the marks as evidence of how the work was made. I use any tool that will do the job. I never make drawings or models before I carve. I relate directly to the material and visualize forms as I go along. I find that if I solve the problems in advance by doing drawings or maquettes, then the excitement and challenge are gone and I lose interest in the work.