Colin Telfer worked at the West Cumbrian pits for 20 years. He was a winder/engine man working on the pit top, with experience at Risehow, Lowca and Solway collieries, and he also worked for a time at Distington Engineering at Workington.
After being made redundant, he enrolled on a two-year course at Carlisle art college to retrain as a sign-writer.
While there he started to play around with clay and soon developed his own ideas, making small mining sculptures using coal dust.
About 15 years ago he received his first major contract at Egremont and has been sculpting ever since.
Most of his work is made from a mixture of iron ore dust from Florence Mine in Egremont, and resin. Others also include slate or coal.
Colin’s figures start life as a wooden framework, covered in foam filler, then clay. They are sanded, rubbed down with wire wool then finished with Colin’s own-recipe coating mixture which contains graphite and slate powder and polishes up to a gleaming finish.
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