David Nash was born in Esher in 1945. He studied at Kingston College of Art (1963-64), Brighton College of Art (1964-67) and Chelsea School of Art (1969-70). On leaving Chelsea, Nash moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales, purchasing a chapel which has remained since then both his studio and home.
Working away from London allowed Nash the intellectual and physical space to develop his art. He not only carves wood, largely from fallen trees, with chain and milling saws - skills that he has perfected over the years - but he also creates sculptures from growing plants, cutting and training them into domes or ladders. His famous Ash Dome, planted as saplings in 1977, is now a mature dome centred on a plot of woodland in North Wales, Nash's 'laboratory' for growing works and a place for thinking.
Many of David Nash's exhibitions - he has had hundreds of solo and group exhibitions throughout the world - are formed from work he has made in the general location of the museum or art gallery, with local wood. Significant shows of this type have been held in America, Japan and Poland. Nash's sculptures, made from unseasoned wood, alter after his intervention, cracking and twisting as they dry. In harnessing not only the element of air, but also fire and water, Nash changes the form and surface of his sculptures. His first charred works were made in Japan in the early 1980s. The process is almost as ritualistic as it is intense. Charring changes the surface to carbon, which, when treated with preservative and linseed oil, gives the sculptures a longer life in the open air.
In 1999 David Nash embarked on making some works in bronze, using earth and fire in the process. The resulting sculptures, with their patina resonant of smoke and ash, hold echoes of his works in wood. Nash continues to work in Blaenau Ffestiniog and in many places around the world. In 1999 he was elected royal academician.