Derek M Fergus
My early years
In my earliest years both my parents and my primary school teachers commented that I had a vivid imagination in both my drawings and storytelling. However my ability was never encouraged by my family or teachers due to a number of serious illnesses which I experienced and continued into my teenage years.
Although my father was a retail businessman one of his hobbies was creating/making objects for use both in the house and garden to enhance our home life. In my younger years while recovering from one illness after another at home I would often observe my father creating or repairing items in and around the family home and being amazed given the limited tools he had available to him in those days. I discovered in my mid – twenties that I had inherited some of the natural abilities like that of my late father in being able to work out how to make or repair various different items within an working environment or at home however using more advanced tools & equipment.
A new beginning
At the age of 33 years I contracted a virus which affected me physically and meant I had to give up my employment as head of maintenance at an International Corporate company. During my recovery my mind was drawn to learning about various new aspects of arts & crafts in particular stained glass design. When I felt ready I visited a company who had qualified stained glass artists and undertook lessons in becoming a stained glass worker/artist. The stained glass company allocated me a work space and I enjoyed creating and making stained glass mirrors/vases for approximately 15 years. While being taught how to make/construct stained glass pieces I also learned the art of embossing designs onto soft metals like sheet copper or pewter followed up by double mounting the embossed metal panels and presenting them as part of a mirror designed frame or as an individual picture. However an opportunity was presented to me almost 12 years ago when a friend who was the Art Director at the stained glass company where I had attended told me that he and his family were going abroad. My friend suggested if I was interested there was an opening and demand for individual embossed metal pictures especially at Craft & Design fairs throughout Scotland and the UK. (I took up this opportunity and started designing and making individual embossed soft metal pictures)
Throughout my life I have been influenced by people both in the past and present; however my late father never knew how his creative style of working and telling of stories had opened my mind to the ancient Irish Celts & Gaelic Scots. My brother has also played an important part by recognizing that in spite of my previous health problems I had the abilities & simply needed encouragement to develop designs that reflected today’s every changing taste in interior design. Two friends whose influence has helped me over many long years to nurture and develop my own style is the current bespoke artist Robert Ryan and his late departed brother (bespoke artist) Martin Ryan. The pictures that I create in copper and pewter today have choice of flowers similar to that used by the late Margaret (McDonald) Mackintosh wife of C.R. Mackintosh. (My favourite flower is the Scottish Thistle the heart of Scotland)
The designs I undertake to create can be inspired by places that I have visited or stories which I have experienced in the past or heard in the present. Many of my creative inspirations however come from doodling with different shapes that I have observed in the natural world of living plants, tree’s, animal creations, rivers and stone/rock formations which are all around us and constantly changing. I draw my new design onto a pre-cut sized panel of polypropylene. I use a hand held engraver to cut the depth and width required. The next stage is to soft press the image in a hand press followed by antiquing in a mild bath of patina and washing off before burnishing the metal with my own batch of silica wax. The end stage is to give the front of the panel a thin coat of clear lacquer, when dry place in a double mount and finally bag or frame the picture
Derek M Fergus