Posted on March 06 2016
Our March 2016 Artist of the Month is Abbeyhorn. Founded in 1749 Abbeyhorn has been working with horn for generations, passing down expertise and craftsmanship along the way. We asked them more about their impressive heritage..
Where are you based and does this inspire your work? In 1749 The Humpherson family founded the horn works in Bewdley, and over the years we have changed names and moved location. Abbeyhorn has now been happily settled in the little Village of Holme, in the heart of Northern England just on the cusp of the Lake District since 1991. We have 7 Horn carvers in our on-site factory, 1 member of staff in the packing room, 3 ladies in the Office and Paul the owner.
We source our raw materials from ethical sources, the Cow Horn comes from Nigeria, our Red Deer Antler from Scotland, and our Rams horn from Wales. Paul's inspiration for the products comes from a variety of places, not only his travels all over the world, but the local area too. We also make a lot of bespoke items for our customers which sometimes become a permanent product in our catalogue. And Paul is always happy to listen to the factory and office staff member's ideas too.
Tell us about the history of the brand? Abbeyhorn can trace its roots back to the 17th Century when the art of horn carving was prolific. We are one of the last remaining horn works in the UK, and today's Artisans still use these traditional skills, handed down over generations, to bring natural and appealing gifts. Over the years the company has changed names and location several times, expanding its product line along the way. We now have over 1000 trade customers in all 5 continents and ship our products all over the world.
What are you working on right now? We are currently working on expanding The Branding of the Company and have recently invested in new artwork and boxes to complement our product range. We have also ventured into the world of social media and promoting our website around the world. We continually look at ways to improve and develop our products, and are always happy to listen to customer's feedback and ideas.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists? Dream it first then make it a reality. As an artist Paul looks for inspiration all over the world and once he has an idea he works very hard to make that idea a reality, constantly looking for different ways to solve the problems along the way. Sometimes you have try things several times before you solve the issue, but only you can make it happen.
What's your motto for work? Paul started as an apprentice horn carver, so started at the bottom and worked his way up learning all the carving skills to create beautiful pieces, therefore his work motto comes from this, 'never ask anyone to do something that you are not prepared to do myself.'
Do you have a favourite artwork or sculpture? Paul admires many sculptures and artwork that he sees on his travels, but doesn't have a favorite at the moment.
Are artists born or made? Paul firmly believes that artists are born, and over time as they grow and nurture their talent they discover their full potential.
What are your indulgences? Paul's focus at the moment is to grow Abbeyhorn as a business and to expand the brand around the world. He works very hard by visiting trade shows and selling Abbeyhorn products at several markets around the world. Therefore his free time with his children is very important, and he classes being able to spend as much time with them as his indulgence.
What has been the highlight of your career? Paul first started with Abbeyhorn as an apprentice Horn carver in 1980, and was very lucky to be in a position to buy Abbeyhorn 25 years ago. Since then he has invested a lot of time and money in to expanding the business and developing new products and promoting the Abbeyhorn brand worldwide.
Do you have a favourite place in the united kingdom? Being a born and bred Cumbrian Paul's favourite place is the Lake District. It is such a beautiful place with so much to offer in business and pleasure.