Luke Smith, sculptor

Luke Smith while photographing Nasby reenactment and Living Hisotry
Luke Smith while photographing Nasby reenactment and Living Hisotry

In every Cross Keys we look for a Hidden Treasure from across the Diocese of Peterborough.   We found one right under our noses, Luke Smith.

Luke has been working in the Diocesan office since 2004 starting as an office junior at 16.  He is currently the Front Desk manager and works on the website.  But that’s not everything that Luke does.  We discovered that he was a sculptor and member of the Art Doll Society.  He has always been fascinated by art and meaning – especially how people can express themselves though another media.

About 5 or 6 years ago artist Luke was fascinated by puppets and animation.  He make sketches but especially wanted to bring his creations to life.  He started to use Plasticine and create scenes to put his creations in.  He felt the next step would be to learn how to create a stop motion animation so he contacted Ardman – of Wallace and Grommit fame –  to ask if they could help.  Ardman sent a booklet about Claymation and how to develop a career as an animator.  Armed with this information, Luke set out to create a film.

Alice in Wonderland with Cheshire cat.
Alice in Wonderland with Cheshire cat.

His first piece was a stop motion cartoon called The Wave.  It took a couple of months to make this love story of  two or three minutes. Using the Plasticine to form the characters in this animation got him started in creating the dolls

Although sculpting the Plasticine for animation was very satisfying, he wanted to work with something that would make his creations permanent.

After investigation he discovered a very tiny book hidden away in the library entitled ‘How to Use Polymer Clay’. Though its main content was about trinkets, miniatures and Christmas tree ornaments, it gave Luke the information he needed to make his work in a more final form.

Luke then made his first Art Doll –  a tree warrior (tree fairy).  He said this was because he found the perfect branch for the fairy to perch on.  That was the beginning of his foray into Art Doll creation. He’s been creating fantasy dolls for five years.  Some were commissions for creations that represent people, some pets and children.  Two of his creations were made for a museum in the States.

Luke said, “It’s scary to have my work in a museum and not a piece for someone’s living room.  It’s more exposed for them to be on display for the public to see.”  He went on to explain,  “You progress so quickly – I can see the errors I’ve made in those pieces now, five years later.”

Commissioned piece by Luke Smith
Commissioned piece by Luke Smith

Raven’s Grin Inn found Luke’s work on ‘The International Art doll Registry’ – a specialty site where artists can meet other sculptors and each piece can be authenticated, confirming that it is one of a kind.

Luke never thought he would be creating Art Dolls, but he has caught the bug and is developing  Art Dolls for the future.   He has made movable dolls, whole figures, made figures with more realism, and created dolls with soft bodies and the clay hands, feet and face.

“You can never stay still.  You have to keep moving and progressing or the fun can go out of it.”

You can see Luke’s work on his website:

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