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'At last, people can see my Ray's artwork'.

Byline: By JESSICA FLYNN South Wales Echo

A widow's wish for people to see her husbands sculptures has come true with an exhibition of his work. Self-taught sculptor Raymond Taylor took up his hobby of carving wood after damaging nerves in his back in a fall while working as a rigger burner on the demolition of East Moors Steel Works in the 1970s, forcing him to give up his job.

His wife Elizabeth bought him wood chisel tools to get him started and at their home in Clive Street, Cardiff, he carved furniture as well as ornaments.

But after being diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in 1996, he lived until April 1998 when the cancer returned to his liver.

Now, eight years after his death at the age of 62, his wife Liz's campaign to get his work seen has paid off with an exhibition at Butetown History and Arts Centre.

'Ray didn't think anything of his work but when he died I started knocking on doors because I think they should have been seen,' said Liz, 68, who now lives in Nottage, Porthcawl.

'No-one seemed interested until I phoned Chapter Arts who put me in touch with Phil Cope.

'Ray's hobby started when he saw the Gonk toy in the '60s. He said he could do better and it went on from there,' said Liz who used to work for the Old British Transport Docks Board now known as ABP and who met Ray in 1954 when she was 16 and he was 19. They married in 1961.

The exhibition 'It's Already In The Wood' and accompanying book by Liz, lecturer Glenn Jordan and Phil Cope, includes 65 sculptures. The title is the reply Ray used to give when Liz asked how he knew where to start on a sculpture.

Liz said: 'He would get a bit of wood, put it on the table and he would look at it for ages then he would pick it up and just start carving.

'I just wanted people to see his work. Now there's going to be a tour around Wales, I'm over the moon, gobsmacked. I always knew there was something there.

'He felt so embarrassed when people would look at his work, he didn't like to be in the spotlight but I think he'll be proud of me for doing this for him.

'It made me feel elated when I saw everyone looking at his work and I felt Ray was there.'

It's Already in the Wood: The Afro-Welsh Sculptures of Raymond Charles Taylor will be at the Butetown History and Arts Centre, Bute Street, Cardiff, until Sunday, August 6. Admission is free.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 30, 2006
Words:445
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