About Bev

With over 30 years experience working as an artist, mainly in puppet animation and model making, I am now concentrating on sculpting portrait heads of humans and animals in clay. I just love the forgiving nature of clay and also its ability to hold very fine detail when necessary.

My art unravels portraits, captured and recreated with a porosity and fragility. The resulting works can be unsettling, haunting, beautiful but always subtly peppered with personality.

Drawing inspiration from my own life, darker themes often seem to embody my sculpture. Maybe it’s a form of catharsis, although humour often emanates as well.

I gravitate towards theatricality and experimentation, often provoking naked bold compositions.

I was delighted to take part in the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition 2019, with my sculpture ‘Cheeky Chester’.

Bev Knowlden

Grayson’s Art Club

In 2020 my sculpture of Ena Sharples from the ITV soap ‘Coronation Street’ was selected by the Society of Portrait Sculptors for their annual exhibition. Ena also appeared on ‘Grayson Perry’s Art Club’ on Channel 4 in 2020.

How I work

Making a 2 piece mould

Moulding with silicone rubber is a messy old business! It involves mixing up a bucket of rubber and catalyst and painting a 1cm layer onto the clay sculpture.

Rubber wedges are inserted along the edge of the rubber to help line up the sections of mould when casting. Once the rubber has cured, resin is poured on top creating a solid case that prevents the rubber mould from moving when casting.

Here is the first stage complete. Half of the head has been moulded with rubber and encased in resin, and is now awaiting the same process as before. Then the fun begins with casting resin dog heads…

Sculpture stages

Stage 1 - Measuring

Whether I am working from a live model or photos, I always take many measurements. These are crucial for cross-referencing as I sculpt.


Stage 2 – Important cocktail sticks!

As I am constantly reworking the clay as I progress, inserting cocktail sticks into the key refence points allows me to shift the clay around, whist keeping these essential markers in place.

Stage 3 – Preparing to mould

The clay sculpting stage is complete, dried and sealed ready to mould, the next stage is to make a 2 part mould using silicone rubber. This images shows the first half ready to be encased in rubber.

Stage 4 – The finished cast

Cheeky Chester in all his glory… This one is cast in resin, jute, iron and reclaimed metal, the end result being a rusty beaming baby!


Listen here to an interview with David FitzGerald, on BBC Radio Devon.

I was invited along to chat about my work, including this sculpture of a deer hound and the techniques I used to create it.

What people say about my work

Really powerful, amazing work. I love how the detailed realism of your initial stages is taken over by the process of decay etc!

Anne Pirie

We have two pieces of Bev’s work, both statement pieces, grabbing attention and light. Bev’s work always plays best to centre stage – pithy pieces. Bold art-couture.

Julie Mullen

It was so good to see ‘Cheeky Chester’ at the RA last Friday. My friends were really impressed and loved your work. None of us have ever ‘known’ an artist exhibit there before.

Nell Holdsworth