Guy Taplin was born in the East End of London, and began to make ‘decoy’ ducks whilst employed to look after the ducks in Regent’s Park. This interest inspired a visit to the USA where he studied the history of decoy ducks and their makers. He later moved to the Essex coast, watching the sea birds and gathering the drift wood from which he carves and constructs his birds. He chooses to use old and weathered timbered which retains a sense of place and the past, and he works directly on the wood without drawings. He uses the grain to suggest the pattern of feathers, sanding and smoothing to bring out the most interesting features. The artist said that ‘the fact that my materials have knocked about for a while and already had a life before I came across them is somehow important to me’.