Meerkats have gained huge popularity ever since they burst on the scene with the BBC documentary Meerkats United. This was around the time I graduated with a degree in ceramics from University of Wales Institute Cardiff. On embarking on a career in animal sculpture, meerkats seemed the right animal to sculpt. My first family group of 15 sold out in a weekend in a London gallery. There was a call for more. When news came through that the comedian and actor John Cleese had bought one I wore a smile for days!
Meerkat sculptures sold regularly enough to allow me to give up part-time work and concentrate on animal sculpture full-time. I’ve never looked back. I once delivered a family of meerkat sculptures to the home of Viscountess Serena Linley, daughter-in-law of the late Princess Margaret.
On another occasion one of my meerkat sculptures popped up in Country Life magazine. It was standing in the background on the mantelpiece of a dignitary who was having his portrait painted!
My meerkat sculptures have raised funds for various animal charities over the years, most recently for Painted Dog Conservation Inc. One year the Category winners in BBC Wildlife Photography of the Year (including renowned wildlife photographer Andy Rouse) were presented with a meerkat sculpture trophy.
Meerkats have since become ubiquitous, following an appearance in a certain advertisement. As a consequence I now only make them to order on commission. But they have been an important part of my life and they can still raise a smile.