Many years ago, my father worked over 4,000 miles away in Tobago in the Caribbean - an island famous for its wide sandy beaches and spectacular tropical rainforest. There he acquired an old tree stump which he shipped back to Scotland, intending to one day carve it into something beautiful in his retirement. He died shortly afterwards, in his fifties, and never got the chance to start his project.

Years passed by and the stump remained neglected in the corner of my workshop, ragged and still crusted with Tobago soil until one day I decided that I should start the project he never got to. With no particular plan, no sketches or design, I began loosely marking the piece up with chalk and charcoal and let the root dictate the outcome, refining and carving in to the wood with my growing collection of handmade tools. The Leda and the Swan connection was noticed later… in my family she’s just called ‘The Naked Lady’.

The carving won a prize in a local art competition and later went on show in the Royal Scottish Academy. She now sits proudly in the hall of the converted farm steading we raised our family in after my parents bought it as a derelict ruin 35 years ago.

I like to think the old man would have been proud.

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