Jan fitch was born in Hertfordshire, England and worked as a secretary and personnel officer until 1977 when she was given the opportunity of joining a 38' ketch to sail from England to the united states. A year later and having visited 10 countries the voyage ended in the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland where, unknowingly, her career at that point would change to that of an artist.
During her stay there, she met a local woodcarver and was fascinated how he made the wooden bird so soft. By saying “I wish I could do that” and with some encouragement Jan decided to attend his evening classes in bird carving. Six months later she continued to travel and practiced her hobby by carving for friends and acquaintances – any corner of the boat or space on the dock was her workshop. Two years after her initial introduction and some self teaching, Jan made woodcarving a full time profession.
Her love of birds is expressed in her carvings and cast paper sculptures. The carvings capture the behaviour of ducks and birds as seen in nature. Using either wood or a man made medium (HDU - High Density Urethane), the birds are intricately shaped, detailed with feather layout, textured and painted with acrylics to replicate the actual bird. When she hears comments like “they look so soft” she knows she “got it right”. The birds are either mounted on driftwood for wall hanging or set into a habitat scene for table top display. Also available are resin reproductions of original carvings which are painted by Jan.
Her other medium of choice is cotton linter. The image is designed as a bas relief sculpture in clay and in turn, it is created into a limited edition cast paper replica of the original relief. Each piece is hand pulled and has its own unique characteristic. The castings are framed and either tinted or penciled in detail.