James G. Jeffs

Tim Jeffs was a highly talented artist and craftsman. He had a natural gift as a teacher, both in the classroom and as a founding tutor of the Kirkcudbright Art and Craft Summer School. A strong personality, he featured regularly on Scottish radio in his latter career. Born in Dumfries, Tim was apprenticed as a motor engineer, and eventually worked as a test driver for Dumfries-based Arrol-Johnston motor car manufacturer. The 1930s recession led to the closure of the works, Jeffs became a self-employed studio craftsman, tackling a variety of jobs from poster design to furniture making.

When Dumfries Librarian G W Shirley took charge of the  Dumfries Museum in 1934 he appreciated the range and quality of Tim's practical abilities, and offered him a job as his Assistant. He was able to refurbish and redisplay the museum to a high standard, and became Curator himself in 1941 when Shirley's ill-health forced his retirement. 

He took the opportunity in 1941 to teach wood and metalwork in Dumfriesshire schools and eventually took a post in Kirkcudbright Academy in 1945. In Kirkcudbright Tim and his wife Mary were able to join the artistic community there, no doubt to the pleasure of their friends  Jessie M King and  E A Taylor, who had acted as witnesses at their civil marriage in Kirkcudbright in 1938. 

Illness forced his early retirement from teaching, but Tim carried on in Kirkcudbright as an independent craftsman, and after 1945 became famous for his carved Presentation Caskets and Burgess Tickets, commissioned by burghs across Scotland to honour people such as Sir Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower. The range of Tim Jeffs' work is illustrated in this exhibition - he was an artist, designer, sculptor, wood carver, calligrapher and textile worker. He and his wife Mary and daughter Justine, lived at The Yellow Door, 9 High Street 

He died in 1975 after a tragic boating accident on Loch Ken. 

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