6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Yorkshire Life today CLICK HERE

A Harrogate bricklayer turns his hands to Yorkshire sculpture

14:57 15 November 2011

Johnny’s ‘organic free-form walls’ give an optical illusion of movement

Johnny’s ‘organic free-form walls’ give an optical illusion of movement

A Harrogate bricklayer-turned-sculptor has transformed the Yorkshire tradition of drystone walling into an exciting new art form.

A Harrogate bricklayer-turned-sculptor has transformed the Yorkshire tradition of drystone walling into an exciting new art form.


Johnny Clasper, a name not to be forgotten in a hurry, creates what he imaginatively describes as organic free-form walls to reinvent the way people design their gardens


The stonemason and professional member of the Yorkshire Drystone Walling Guild explained further: Nobody else in the country is using stone like me. My philosophy and work are grounded in the traditions and strong materials of Yorkshire and really celebrate the intrinsic beauty of stonework. Drystone walling doesnt use cement or any form of bonding material, so its a craft that requires a lot of patience and skill to create that perfect combination of weight versus gravity.

I want to break the rules and create something thats very much homage to that tradition and skill, but with an edge. This is radical design that blends with nature.

After leaving Harrogate College with a qualification in bricklaying, he worked in the construction business building houses. That was a great grounding for me, said Johnny. The money was good, but I had a hankering to sculpt that I just couldnt shake. I wanted to test my own skills. And I wanted to work with natural curves that lend themselves to nature rather than square boxes.

Moving out of mainstream construction, he worked for a specialist stoneworker before deciding to set up on his own.

The art work I do is a compulsion really, he said. An idea becomes an almost constant thought, something that I need to do.

I have a great, all-encompassing passion for working with stone. Ive studied many styles of stone masonry and extracted bits and pieces of each. Ive then combined everything I know and put my own stamp on the work.

As a sculptor, I am inspired by nature and the fluid lines and shapes I see every day around me. I like to bend the rules as much as I can in my work.

I love doing what I do. I especially love the looks on peoples faces when they try to figure out how its all possible.


The print version of this article appeared in the November 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life

We can deliver a copy direct to your door order online here

0 comments

Shop with us at Great British Life

More from Out & About

10 minutes ago
Holmfirth

Worldwide fame hasn’t changed this down-to-earth town

Read more
Tue, 00:00
From the air, the unique shape of Spurn in the landscape becomes apparent. The 2013 storm surge burst across one of the narrowest parts of the peninsula, making an island of the very end of the point at every high tide. Photo David Nichols

Tom Marshall from the Yorkshire Nature Triangle explores what the future holds for Spurn Point, an iconic landscape which is constantly at the mercy of the elements

Read more
Friday, June 26, 2015
Andy and the team

Gruelling challenge aims to raise funds for ABF the Soldiers’ Charity

Read more
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Fun for all the family at award-winning  Eureka! Museum in Halifax

Halifax museum celebrates a glittering new tourism award

Read more
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Scarborough

A 64-day cycle ride taking in the entire coast of Great Britain is coming your way - and anyone can get involved

Read more
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Delicate water avens, which are much tougher than they look

Go wild in the country this summer with a fabulous festival of flowers

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2015
The Wheelstones on Derwent Edge

Terry Fletcher takes a moorland walk with a peep into Dambusters country

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2015
The photographs show the transition between winter and spring flowers. The moody, deep tones of the hellebore - a flower which grows easily in Yorkshire and which can be seen in many of the borders at Harlow Carr - moving into the brighter pinks of the first spring tulips and blossom

Celebrate the variety of cut flowers this month with the help of Yorkshire growers. Photographs by Sarah Mason Photography

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2015
Leyburns 1940s weekend attracts thousands of visitors Photos by Mark Elsworth markelsworthphotography.co.uk

This gateway town draws visitors for many different reasons not least its historical connections, says Terry Fletcher

Read more
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Skipton Castle.

Yorkshire has a vast collection of castles and fortresses with a rich and fascinating history. Some have fallen into ruin while some have retained all their medieval splendour. We pick a few of our favourites

Read more
Sunday, June 7, 2015
On the Pennine Way near Malham

Terry Fletcher explores some of the many long distance walking routes that criss-cross the county

Read more
Sunday, May 31, 2015
Part of the collection at the Helmsley Archaeological Store including sculptured heads from Rievaulx Abbey.

Terry Fletcher visits a remarkable collection of historic artefacts in Helmsley. Photographs by Joan Russell

Read more
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Skegness. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Skegness is a part of The Countrywide Great Tour route this summer. We reveal some of the best restaurants and places to stay in the Lincolnshire coastal town

Read more
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The aptly named peacock butterfly is one of our most vibrant species. Picture by Bob Coyle

Britain’s butterflies have experienced turbulant times in recent years with dramatic effect, says Tom Marshall from the Yorkshire Nature Triangle

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP




Yorkshire's trusted business finder