Sculptor, Peter Griffin discusses the use of Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing, to create his Buddhist inspired commissioned artwork.

Over the past 25 years, Peter and his wife Denise Griffin have become internationally recognized sculptors of Tibetan Buddhist iconography. Their training began at the Camberwell School of Art in London and then later continued under the guidance of Tibetan master statue makers in India and Nepal. A further 10 years was then spent living and working in Asia and the US before they decided to return to England to establish their own sculpting house, Griffin Studios.

Peter Griffin statues

Since its foundation in 1991, Griffin Studios has carried out a number of sculptural commissions globally for temples, monasteries and corporate environments.

Peter explains:

"We used to create all our pieces by hand but because our work involves producing symmetrical elements this was always very time-consuming. It was about 12 ago that Denise and I were then commissioned to make a statue to be enlarged using CADCAM (Computer-aided Design and Manufacturing) software to form a 500ft high statue in India. A big part of the job involved large relief panels and Delcam's ArtCAM software was perfect for the job. ArtCAM soon became an important tool for me to design and create relief sculptures. As a sculptor my specialism lies in relief work, I'm fascinated by it. It is ideal for what I do but I still prefer to combine it with traditional sculpting methods.

A good example of this is our recent commissioned project for the leading UK ferry operator, P&O Cruises. The brief was to create 10 pieces of art for an Indian themed entertainments area on their new cruise-liner the Azura (launched April 2010).

This involved seven wall pieces, two statues, and a feature column to go in the centre of the room. I also had to ensure that the design met: their exact measurements; safety regulations (e.g. fireproof); colour/texture swatches of the surrounding interior design and that the column resembled a drawing provided by the architects.

Wall carving

I decided to base my design for the two statues on something I'd seen outside a temple in India with a peacock brushing against the legs of a lady carrying an offering to the temple. To create the statues, I modelled the basic figures by hand in clay and then used a 3D scanner. The 3D file was then imported into the software. Once in ArtCAM I created the composition and added the decorative elements, e.g. jewellery.

When I was happy with the design I used ArtCAM's machining strategies to calculate the toolpaths to be sent to my CNC machine. To give a smoother finish to the design I machined it using a custom made 0.3mm ball nose tool on the final toolpath and then cast that section in bronze.

Peter Griffin statue and ArtCAM Model

For my traditional temple inspired column I created it in sections. Knowing the radius/profile of the various parts of the column I was able to design and machine its vertical sections and then piece them together by hand to form the fully 3D column. For the 7 wall pieces I based my design on some Indian miniature paintings I'd seen in Delhi.

As an artist, ArtCAM has opened a whole up a new door for me. I see ArtCAM as one of my sculptor's tools and it's has been quite inspirational. It has also increased my production substantially. Griffin Studios can now integrate with the world of architecture and interior design much more easily, which is quite advantageous when working on large public projects. I have honestly found Delcam to be the best company I've ever worked with and I would advise anyone to buy ArtCAM".

For more information on Griffin Studios please visit their website -