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handmade in hebden bridge

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Absolutely wonderful service!


Arrived promptly and perfectly and she loved it - a huge smile and happy memories of chasing hermit crabs in Milne Bay Papua New Guinea 30 years ago!

Justin H

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Geckoman is John Noble-Milner

a wildlife sculptor

working in bronze and ceramics

passionate about the environment

a carbon neutral business

handmade in hebden bridge

using recycled metals

powered by renewable energy

offsetting carbon emissions

making beautiful sculpture

art to feel good about

doing less harm to the planet

read more...

 
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Over the years we’ve met many wonderful and talented fellow artists and makers at fairs, markets and festivals. Sometimes we exhibit together as a pop-up gallery.

 

And we love getting out of the workshop and meeting all the lovely customers too!

 

We can’t attend any events at the moment so we hope you enjoy our little online gallery of beautiful handmade things.

contact
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Bronze gecko lizard sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 20, 2021

Here's one of my latest open edition bronze geckos. All my work is online, that seems to be the way of things for now.

This last year has been quite challenging to say the least and it's still difficult to plan ahead.

Without events to exhibit at it's called for some lateral thinking.

I've just released coupon codes to my mailing list enabling a 30% discount on getting work made to order.

Free UK postage now as well, international shipping is just £10 per order.

Bronze frog sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 30, 2021

Somewhere I'm sure it's always ​#frogfriday!

 

My latest blue jeans frog sculpture. This one was made to order so already sold. I'll be making more of them though, I like the way the patination came out.

Bronze pipistrelle bat sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 24, 2021

I've been meaning to do some more photography of my bronze pipistrelles. This one's been ordered and is off in the post tomorrow, funny how it takes a deadline to get round to doing things!

I'll be making more of them of course so if you're interested in the sculpture check out my website

Bronze frog sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 22, 2021

I was asked to make a dart frog using the customers photos as reference. So here are my first versions.

When I looked it up I found there are a lot of colour variants for Phyllobates vittatus, the Golfo Dulce poison dart frog. Definitely one I can play around with, I'll be doing more of these.

Ceramic pipistrelle bat sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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November 29, 2020

Last of my pottery pipistrelles finished and ready for their first firing. 

It's going to be nice and cosy in the workshop this week.

Bronze pipistrelle bat sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 29, 2021

This pair of pipistrelles at rest are life size bronzes.

Ceramic pipistrelle bat sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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February 14, 2021

 

Now that I've delivered the valentine's card I can reveal what I've been working on this last couple of weeks.

A small romantic colony of stoneware pipistrelles. Life size sculpture, very fiddly to make!

Wildlife lovers everywhere, these pipistrelles love you too ❤️

Bronze pipistrelle bat sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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January 29, 2021

I make three pipistrelle sculptures in bronze, life size in different poses. This one is starting to unfold its wings, it looks ready for flight.

Bronze wren sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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November 17, 2020

Just finished the first of my latest sculpture; a pair of wrens in bronze. This is the male of the pair.

 

The wren is life size, mounted on an oak block 9 x 9 x 4cm.

 

If you want to be the first to hear about new work sign up to my mailing list at the top of the website.

Bronze wren sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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November 17, 2020

My bronze wrens are new on the website. This is the female of the pair.

 

The wren is life size, mounted on an oak block 9 x 9 x 4cm.

Bronze wren sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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November 6, 2020

First finished bronze wrens on my bench. I'll get them mounted up and do some proper photos next week... looking forward to playing around with patinations next.

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist at York Christmas Market
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November 12 2020

First day of the Christmas Market.

 

It's kind of nice to be sat indoors in the warm writing this post... But today would have been the first day of St Nicholas Fair - the York Christmas market.

 

This is the first time in over 15 years that we've not been at the Christmas market, in the Made In Yorkshire marquee or the Christmas cabins.

 

We'll miss the Christmas atmosphere, the banter with our fellow Christmas traders, and of course the Christmas crowds!

 

It's all very different this year. It's not the same, but do look us up online when you start thinking about the Christmas market.

Bronze frog sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 31, 2020

Todays bronze frog... isn't really based on a particular species. I just like the patination!

 

It's a dart frog kind of sculpture, but they tend to be very bright colours to warn predators not to eat them. This is far too subtle - nice colour for a bronze frog though.

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist with bronze gecko and pipistrelle bat sculpture
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November 9, 2020

#MeetTheMaker

 

I've been making wildlife sculpture since the 90s when I started making stoneware pottery geckos. That gave me the nickname and so my business name. I'm still making geckos, the one pictured is bronze.

 

I'm very concerned about environmental issues. Climate change is a huge threat to humanity and is making massive changes to all ecosystems. We urgently need to think about how we live and what we're doing to the planet.

 

We're on renewable energy, it's a start. Everything needs to move away from fossil fuels. It will take thousands of years to undo 200 years industrial burning of carbon.

 

I remember learning at school about the problems we face with carbon dioxide levels rising. Around about the same time businesses went into overdrive to eradicate wage costs by doing all the manufacturing on the other side of the world!

 

So everything became disposable and so cheap as to have no value. Throw it away and just buy another one.

 

That's not really going to work out too well as a long term plan!

 

I make stuff here where I live. My workshop is the ground floor of my house.

 

Bronze is over 95% copper by the way, all of which is from recycled sources.

 

And once a year I put some thought into my carbon footprint. If I'm causing some carbon to be burned I'm prepared to pay into a scheme that plants trees to offset the damage.

 

So if you want to buy less stuff, but when you do buy something special it has some thought put into how it’s been made… that’s what I’m about.

Bronze frog sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 30, 2020

Here's a little bronze frog looking at you!

 

My Dendrobates auratus sculpture.

Bronze tortoise sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 25, 2020

The Radio is playing slow Sunday. Seems like as good a reason as any to post a picture of one of my tortoises. This is my limited edition bronze sculpture based on the Egyptian Tortoise, Testudo kleinmanni.

Bronze frog sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 24, 2020

And for a little more colour with my patinations...

 

Here's a frog sculpture in bronze I made last week based on Dendrobates tinctorius

Bronze toad sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 23, 2020

... and today's final picture to complete a triumvirate triptych of toads.

Bronze toad sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 23, 2020

I'm enjoying getting into the sculpture and simplifying the patination just now. Finished this toad yesterday, I really like the light on the bronze.

 

This is Mrs Toad, a large female common toad at 12.5cm.

Bronze toad sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 23, 2020

A toad with attitude! She will win a staring contest any day...

 

This is Mrs Toad, a large female common toad. Don't mess!

Bronze turtle sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 18, 2020

This life size sculpture of a hatchling turtle at 10cm is solid bronze, so it has a wonderful weight to it.

Bronze praying mantis sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 21, 2020

My latest bronze mantis. The close up in particular shows just how deadly these insects are as predators.

Bronze praying mantis sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 21, 2020

Here's a pretty fearsome beast looking at you! My latest bronze mantis.

 

Based on Mantis religiosa the length of the head and body of this sculpture is 14.5 cm. Somewhat oversized as large females attain about 9cm in reality.

 

Previously I've patinated them in various greens. I like the way this patination shows the detail of the sculpture though.

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist at Hebden Bridge Open Studios
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October 13, 2020

I'm currently a couple of days (at least) behind everyone else involved with Hebden Bridge Open Studios - I was pretty busy at the weekend!

 

Good job all the videos and live streams are archived on the @hbopenstudios Facebook page and Youtube.

 

Some great stuff happened over the weekend. I got to have a chat with some fellow wildlife inspired artists and makers on the Sunday afternoon so a big thank you and a shout out for Sheila Tilmouth, Hannah Lawson, Toby Cotterill, and Pam Crofts.

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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October 13, 2020

Q. What is your life outside of being an artist? Did you do something else before or do you have hobbies or passions that aren't related to art?

 

A. My life outside of being an artist.

 

It’s all part of who I am. There’s not really a separation. I’ve got a lot better at the work discipline of getting up early and cracking on… and clocking off at tea time. I don’t stop thinking about it though. Ever.

 

I do have a life other than my work. I love walking out on the hills. It’s beautiful around where we live, we’re very lucky.

 

I had a life before following this path as professional sculptor. It was a pretty similar outlook though. I’ve always been creative.

 

Setting up a quadrophonic sound system to create atmospheres, soundscapes and just plain silliness was a highlight for me. I could run it on 12 volt batteries so did all sorts of strange things with noises at raves, chill out rooms, festivals and parties.

 

I used to take a 4 track out into the field, spread microphones out and make really long recordings in true quadrophonic. And do things like take a bus or tube journey with a hidden DAT recorder and capture a recording of the whole thing.

 

Running three 4 tracks to mix and layer all these recordings, tinkering and tweaking sounds and putting this around music was great. Even did 6 way speaker set ups. It was all still art though… whatever you can get away with!

 

I've made quite a lot of noise over the years. Occasionally I like to think it bordered on the tuneful, definitely fairly rhythmical at times.

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist inspired by nature
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October 14, 2020

Everything about the world and the interconnected nature of all life is endlessly fascinating. The complexity that evolves over huge spans of time fills every niche that can be exploited to survive.

 

I don’t see any reason to it. It just is. If a species is successful at obtaining nutrients and conditions it can thrive in it will reproduce and continue.

 

We’re not separate from the world we live in. Maybe one day our descendants will populate other planets and further into space, but as it stands we’re here on this planet. Coevolving with every other form of life.

 

Are we any better than the insects or microbes or whatever survives if the environment changes in ways we can’t?

 

We’re conscious and we can think about it.

 

Fascinating. All life is fascinating. All life is an inspiration to my work as an artist.

 

And like many wildlife artists I have to mention David Attenborough. I was a kid when Life On Earth aired, already obsessed with animals and dinosaurs and the natural world, that was the most significant television of my childhood. I remember it so vividly and the book of the series was that year’s most amazing Christmas present.

 

That was my bible. I have all the David Attenborough series on DVD and could watch them over and over.

 

He’s always been vocal about the damage we’re doing, as he’s got older he’s not stepped back or quietened down. I’m hugely inspired by his stance on conservation and environmentalism.

 

Photo credits from Instagram: Dusky fruit bat @chienleephotography; Anthony’s poison dart frog & gold dust day gecko @mgkuypers; Crowned lemur @ronaldzimmerman.nl; Colombian hooded mantis @mnochisaki; Common toad @riccardomattea_photography; Australian freshwater crocodile hatching @rusomaweera Green; sea turtle from A Life On Our Planet @davidattenborough; David Attenborough with Rwandan mountain gorillas ©John Sparks

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor at David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition
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September 27, 2020

A look back at the piece of sculpture I made for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition 2019, which was shortlisted and exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London.

 

I wanted to make a statement about plastic in the environment and how human activity is degrading ecosystems everywhere. Seahorse populations have declined tremendously, some species facing extinction as a result of habitat loss and overfishing especially for the Chinese medicine trade.

 

The pair of ceramic seahorses at first look beautiful clinging to seaweed drifting in the current until you realise they're hanging onto a ripped-up piece of polythene.

 

The title of the piece in full is the short poem that came to me while I was making it:

 

Under anthropocene seas

An ocean of plastic

Floating, slowly sinking

Marks our place on the brink

Of a mass extinction

As indifferent to our existence

As we are to the mess

We can't stop ourselves making

Ceramic gecko lizard sculpture by Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist
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September 29, 2020

How did it all start..?

 

Like a lot of things, through a series of happy accidents. Studying Botany at university I started a pottery class as I'd really liked pottery at school and missed it, that maintained an interest in ceramics. A few years later my Dad retired and bought a wheel and kiln. We had a lot of fun making the neighbours lights flicker when we were firing into the night. One of the joys of rural life at the end of the power line.

 

During the summer of 1996 I made two press moulded stoneware geckos, this is one of them. Excuse the poor quality image, it was taken from a Facebook post from years ago from a scan of a photo long since lost.

 

I'm still making geckos but mostly in bronze these days

Geckoman, John Noble-Milner, wildlife sculptor and artist in Hebden Bridge
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September 30, 2020

So... Hebden Bridge and life here as an artist.

 

I love this town and how much creativity there is here. We've a population of about 4,500 - the kind of size town where you know a lot of people to say hello to. For such a small town to have 92 artists involved with Open Studios is pretty impressive.

 

It's very beautiful around here so it's inevitable we're something of a tourist destination, but that never really feels like an intrusion to me. Lots of walkers and ramblers so it's not tacky nick nack shops and arcades. Lots of lovely cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and quirky little independent shops.

 

A good place to be vegan, especially if you're a walker who likes to do the kind of pub crawl that could take in a few country pubs over ten miles of beautiful scenery.

 

Fair to say we're a resourceful and resilient lot. We've been flooded a few times and the town pulls together, there's great community spirit. We get back up, adapt and get on with it. The fact that we flood and that's become more frequent and severe means a lot of folk here are particularly aware of climate change and the need to do something. Environmentalism is at the forefront of a lot of people's minds here.

It's the kind of place you could walk up a hill and see a 200 foot image of Greta Thunberg had suddenly appeared. Shouldn't every school make a sand picture like that on their playing field at least once a year? Lots of thanks to Sand In Your Eye for helping that happen. You should see the kind of art they do!

 

And of course, we have the legendary Trades Club! Quite possibly the best small music venue in the country. It's been a hard year in lots of ways, seeing the Trades' doors closed for so long has been particularly painful. Anyway, being Hebden Bridge we won't let The Trades go under. Over a thousand people chipped into the recent crowdfunder. The club will be back better and stronger than ever once this pandemic is over. 

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