Bill Riseborough- the man behind the concrete

Once upon a time, about 11 or more years ago, Andrew Reeves met a person who would become a key collaborator, Mr. Bill Riseborough. Not knowing it at the time, a very important relationship with Linebox was born. Both connected over a genuine love of real materials and the respect for true craftsmanship. Over the years Bill and Andrew have collaborated on dozens of projects together using a variety of mediums including; concrete, wood and metal.

Bill Riseborough, concrete artist, carpenter, metal worker and designer.

The Early Years

Before he started with concrete, Bill initially studied sculpture at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. After graduating with a bachelor of design, he was still trying to find his true calling when an architect friend needed labour and carpentry help. Bill started on the job and eventually became a licensed carpenter. Throughout the years, wood would become an important medium for Bill in his work.  In addition to using wood, Bill also likes to work with concrete and steel and he is equally talented with all of them. His inspiration comes from learning the language of each material, how it behaves and reacts and how he can manipulate it. He then envisions each project like a puzzle that he needs to solve.

A True Collaborator

Bill is a true artist and as with many creative people, Bill’s work is often a product of organic collaboration with other artists and creators. Bill has worked with visual artists such as Chris Griffin and spent many a design sessions with Andrew Reeves. What Bill brings to the table is the ability to masterfully translate ideas through the mediums he works with.

Concrete

Somewhere between 15 to 20 years ago, Bill was faced with a full home renovation and the design scope was carte blanche. After reading an article about Fu Tung Cheng, an American concrete artist, he incorporated concrete into the project. This was his first experience with decorative concrete and, wanting to know more about this material he completed the GFRC course at the Concrete Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina and later a master class with Fu Tung Cheng himself, in Berkley. Bill is a true master in concrete!

Bill made the custom concrete table for our office with glass mixed in and the vertical wood dividers

 Engravings

Many years ago Andrew was designing a repurposed 100 year old “confectionery” which was to be transformed into a single family home with a ground floor organic spa. The home belonged to famed local artist, Christopher Griffin and his wife Oresta Korbutiak. In looking for ways to incorporate Chris’ carving-like artwork into the home, Andrew called upon Bill to collaborate. Bill and Chris hit it off together and adjusted the mix design of the concrete to allow Chris to engrave his artwork on the exterior of his homeAs Bill applied the concrete, Chris would follow and working with a “carving bone” he picked-up on a recent trip to Africa, Chris began to engrave his art onto the walls.  The result are magical representations of sunflowers, a whale and other natural elements that can normally be found in Chris’ work.

Christopher Griffin working on the exterior of his home.

Bill, The Person

Bill is a man that favours the simple things in life like cooking and being in his shop which is located near Ashton, Ontario. He doesn’t like much attention and often flies under the radar (when you are as talented as Bill is, word of mouth is enough). Much like Andrew, you can often find Bill onsite and in his socks. His glasses are usually covered in saw dust or specks of concrete dust as he dutifully works away on whatever it is he is doing. His demeanour is quiet, kind and focused. He is also incredibly humble, an endearing quality that adds to Bill’s charm.

His studio is located on his property which he describes as “sometimes too small, sometimes too big, but most of the time, as it should be.”

 

Beautiful etchings in the wall of Camino in Byward Market created by Christopher Griffin and Bill. Can you spot the secret message?

 

Word of mouth generates most of Bill’s work, he also has a lot of repeat clients. You won’t find him on any social media platform or even a website really. However, you will find his work throughout the Ottawa and beyond. From Linebox exclusively, you will see his work at El Camino (both locations), Datsun, Shopify, Holmwood, Sunnyside, Ivy, Linebox’s office, and Springfield.

Concrete counter with a waterfall edge created for our Ivy project
Bill did the beautiful concrete island counter at Springfield

Retirement is not in the horizon for Bill, he will never stop doing what he loves. This means we can expect many more years of outstanding artistry in concrete, wood and metal.