About Sands & Randall
Ashley Sands and Robert Randall set up Sands & Randall in 2000. We met while studying at City & Guilds London Art School, Kennington, and we undertake a wide variety of projects, ranging from traditional to contemporary woodcarving, producing reproduction and original pieces. We bring a wide range of skills and experience to our work: Robert has a background in cabinet-making (he is a graduate of the London College of Furniture) and Ashley has worked for his family firm of specialist restorers and mural painters. We share a strong interest in both historic and contemporary art, and are passionate about the English woodcarving tradition.
Our work encompasses architectural wood carving, historic restoration, gilding and new commissions. We work with many private and public bodies, including interior designers, artists, antique dealers, restoration and conservation firms, architects, museums and Royal palaces. Our clients include the National Trust, English Heritage, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Windsor Castle, English Heritage, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Geffrye Museum, Thomas Heatherwick Studios, St James’s and Buckingham Palaces, Westlands architectural salvage company, St Paul’s Cathedral and other Wren churches in the City of London. We have recently been creating sculptures designed by the Brazilian artist Tonico Lemos Aud, restoring the library at the Reform Club in Pall Mall and working on a new capital for the front of Kenwood House in Hampstead.
We like to use native, indigenous woods, such as lime and oak, and enjoy creating our own designs for specific projects, which we often model in clay before carving them in wood. We are expert in gilding and polychroming as well as finishing the wood with suitable oils, stains and waxes. We have strong links with colleagues in related trades and professions, from stonecarvers to muralists, so can advise on a wide range of work. We enjoy the variety of our work, and are open to all kinds of projects. We are based in London and Bristol, with our main workshop in Tottenham, north London.
I studied A levels and a foundation art course in Bristol then joined my father’s business of picture conservation at the International Fine Arts Conservation Studios. Here I spent a few years learning various trades in the restoration field including picture lining, architectural gilding, paint finishes and fine decoration. I worked on a variety of projects including The Cubed Rooms at Wilton House, Salisbury, Nottingham Catholic Cathedral, The Gaiety Theatre, Isle of Man and The Hay House, Georgia, USA, as well as painting restoration at Hampton Court, Kensington Palace and The Royal Academy.
In 1994 I went into further education at The City and Guilds of London Art School, where I studied conservation for one year and then traditional woodcarving and gilding for a further two years. Both Robert and I graduated in 1997 and we set up our business together the following year.
In 2004 I went to Gibraltar and spent two years living there and in Spain. I joined the Gibraltar Arts and Crafts Centre, taught evening classes and showed in exhibitions. I returned to live in Somerset with workshops based there and in London.
I often work alongside my former colleagues at IFACS and Bush and Berry Conservation Studios on restoration projects including The Reform Club, Pall Mall, Worcester Guild Hall and Wellington School Chapel in Somerset.
I also work with my brothers Mark and Corin (www.corinsands-art.de), who are both specialist painters and artists who work internationally. We have worked on restoration projects together including Avebury Manor and Windsor Castle.
After leaving school in North London I began a three year cabinet making apprenticeship, proceeding from there to The London College of Furniture where I studied furniture making and design. On completion of the course I worked for Bim Burton as a designer and furniture maker.
Drawing has always been important to me and I continued to draw throughout this period at this time mainly from the model. The combination of the two practices led me to carving and the City and Guilds School of Art. My furniture making experience and knowledge supported the discipline of carving and guilding. It was here at the school I met Ashley Sands and after leaving the school we formed our company Sands and Randall. In the last 15 years our commissions have been extensive and varied from chainsaw carving at the Folkstone Triennale to restoration at the Reform Club Pall Mall, work for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, restoration in Royal Palaces and to collaborating on work with contemporary artists.
I teach as senior carving lecture at the City and Guilds where I have been for the past three years.