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 storytelling & drawings. However my abilities were never recognized by my family or teachers due to a number of serious illnesses which I experienced into my early teenage years.
Although my father was a businessman in the retail trade one of his hobbies was gardening/creating/making useful objects for 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 the natural abilities like that of my late father in working with various species of woods & being able to work out how to make or repair various different items within a professional working environment or at home using more advanced tools & equipment.
A new beginning
At the age of 33 years I contracted a blood virus which affected me physically and meant I had to give up my employment as head of the maintenance department and a qualified mobile crane/fork truck operator at an International Corporate Warehousing & transport company. During my recovery my mind was drawn to reading & learning about various aspects of the arts & crafts movement in particular stained glass design. When I felt able and 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 and pictures for approximately 16 years. While learning how to make/construct stained glass designs I also learned the art of embossing semi-precious metals like copper & pewter. 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 20 years ago when a friend who was the Art Director at the stained glass company where I had attended informed me that he and his family were going abroad and his company was ceasing trading in the UK.. And if I was interested there was an opening and demand for individual embossed metal pictures especially at Craft & Trade Design fairs throughout Scotland and the UK. (I took up this opportunity and started designing and making individual embossed semi-precious soft metal pictures)
Throughout my life I have been influenced by people both from 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 who is a Economic Marketing Director & Doctorate has always played a very important part in my development by recognizing that in spite of my previous health problems I had the physical capabilities and imagination to design a variety of interior picture designs. Two people whose influence has helped me over my past years while nurturing and developing my own style. Is the Stained Glass artist Robert Ryan and his late brother bespoke artist Martin Ryan. The pictures that I create in copper and pewter have are of a similarity to that created by the late Margaret (McDonald) Mackintosh wife of C.R. Mackintosh. (However my favorite 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 designs onto a sketch pad before transferring my designs to the soft metals and embossing the designs.. Next I plunge the panel into a mild bath of antiquing patina and washing it 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 I polish & place in a double mount and finally bag or frame the picture
Derek M Fergus