Her stunning bronze portraits would suggest otherwise, but sculptor Linda Joyce is adamant she's not a creative person.

Shaking her head when I ask if she was artistic as a child she explains, with a smile, "I don't think I'm creative. Somebody that creates a piece of art from their imagination, that's what I call creative.

"But what I do is, I copy. I know I'm very skilful, but I don't call it creative."

In fact Linda, who lives in Christchurch, admits she even used to spend her school art lessons flicking clay at her classmates - so uninterested was she in the subject. Until a rather special present turned everything around for her.

"My dad bought me a little white poodle when I was 15," she remembers.

"I thought 'maybe I'll just sculpt my poodle'. When I took it to school and showed my art teacher, she nearly fell off her chair, because she knew me as the naughty child in her class. She was amazed, and so was I. I realised that I had a talent.

"My dad made a studio for me in the garden shed. There wasn't any internet then, so I used to go the library and get books out. I taught myself through trial and error over the last 40-50 years.

"I didn't want to go to university or college to learn - I felt you came off the conveyor belt at the end the same as everybody else. So I'm self-taught."

Linda got married and started a family, all the while honing her skills. But as a mother of five, and with a husband who travelled the world for work, she found it difficult to establish a career.

"He quite often came home to find clay in the oven instead of his dinner," she remembers.

"But it was always in the background when I was bringing up my family. As they were growing up and left the nest, I've done it more permanently over the last 20 years."

Her bronze resin sculptures have been on display in Harrods and, more locally, at a gallery in Poole but Linda's latest work concentrates on what, for her, has become a particular passion.

"Over the years I've gravitated more to portraits," she explains.

"I'm fascinated by what makes people's faces different. These things are so subtle, it's amazing. It's very easy to get a likeness in clay of a mature face, because the character is on the face - it's much harder to sculpt a young, very beautiful face.

"I started getting this passion for faces - I thought 'let me just sculpt the faces that I like and that I admire."

Linda began her Icons and Legends collection with a sculpture of the late Amy Winehouse, which she created live at an exhibition at The Shard in London. A picture of her work ended up on Facebook, where Amy's father, Mitch Winehouse saw it and made contact with Linda.

"It was on show at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth," says Linda.

"Amy's mum, Janis came down and unveiled it, then she unveiled it at the Shard exhibition a year later when it was in bronze. The very first bronze I donated to the Amy Winehouse Foundation and it raised £11,000 at The Dorchester hotel. The second one sold at Hard Rock Cafe, New York, for $17,500."

Linda has since completed equally stunning likenesses of Muhammed Ali, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix. She now plans to work on a sculpture of racing driver James Hunt, in honour of her father, who was himself a racing driver in the 1960s and started Formula Ford, an entry-level class of single seater, open-wheel formula racing.

Frankenstein author Mary Shelley is also on her wish list.

"I want to do an exhibition all about women", she explains, "women who have made a difference in the world".

Having just returned from 18 months in Peru, where she went to study natural medicine, but ended up setting up a backpackers' hostel, Linda is keen to get started and is currently on the search for a studio near her Christchurch home.

"I was right in the jungle, so I haven't sculpted for a year and a half," she smiles.

"Generally speaking, they take about a month although, when you're working on a face that you really love, it goes very easily and quickly.

"I do them in clay, then take them to the bronze foundry on the edge of Winchester where they turn them into bronze. On average, the starting price is about £10,000. Bronze is an investment as a metal. All of mine are limited editions and they come with certificates and endorsements.

"My aim now is to get enough of my sculptures together to have an exhibition."

Linda also creates bespoke commissions on request. To find out more, contact her on the email below.

T: 07746 867981

E: lindajoycestudio@gmail.com

E: commission@iconsandlegends.net

W: iconsandlegends.net