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Janet was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, and trained as a teacher at Whitelands College, in south-west London. She later taught at a school near Stratford-upon-Avon and then for three years in West Germany under the auspices of the British Families Education Service.
In the late 1970s, through the 'discovery' of clay, transferred a commitment from painting to a compulsive dedication to sculpture.
Janet was a sculptor of rare sensitivity and skill, but her aversion to publicity meant that she was less well-known than she might have been. She was an energetic member of the Art Workers Guild and of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. Her sculpture Germination was featured in the RBS Centennial Exhibition in 2005.
She worked mainly in bronze, branching out occasionally into marble and silver, and her work has been described as an emotional response to a shape, line or sound from the natural world. The concept of many pieces – often inspired by the seeds and plants – is of regeneration, new birth and the accompanying message of hope. At the Chelsea Flower Show in 2007 and 2008 her stands were voted the "outstanding presentation" of their kind, a reward for months of painstaking, and sometimes physically demanding, preparation.
Professor David Ingram OBE ScD FRSE writes: "Janet MacLeod's work is by turns beautiful, sensuous, tactile and moving. Drawing her inspiration for line, shape and form from the natural world, she coaxes from metal and stone timeless forms that either intertwine and interact with one another in an endless dance of joy, or open and unfold to reveal layer upon layer of hidden meaning.All her works are imbued with a sense of calm and peace yet, one is always aware of the power within them. The organism that gave birth to each piece - whether flower, fruit, seed, animal or person - forever remains a part of it, giving it eternal life.Janet MacLeod's sculptures are truly nature into art, full of happiness and hope."
Works have been sold to private collectors worldwide.
She was an elected member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Chelsea flower show 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Quenington Sculpture Garden 2007 and 2009.
Newby Hall Sculpture Park, Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Nature in Art, Gloucestershire.
Art de Jardin, Rutland.
Work selected by the Royal British Society of Sculptors for its Centenary Exhibition (2005) in the University of Leicester Botanic Garden.
Langham Fine Arts, Suffolk.
The Thompson Galleries, London and Aldeburgh
Brian Sinfield Gallery, Burford, Gloucestershire.
The Stour Gallery, Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire.
Walker Galleries, Harrogate.
The Jeremy Barlow Gallery, Norfolk.
The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh.
Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge.
Group exhibitions in the Art Workers Guild, Bloomsbury, London.
Exhibition in the Master's Lodge, St Catharine's College, Cambridge.
Centenary Exhibition, Le Bois des Moutiers, Normandy.
Uhr Turm Gallery, near Coblenz.
London Contemporary Art Fair.
Bronze sculptures for private collections and gardens:
National Institute of Agriculture and Botany, presentation bronze to the Duke of Edinburgh.
PBI Unilever: presentation bronze.
Ives Group, Information and Management Consultants: presentation bronze.
National Trust: presentation bronze for Regional Director.
National Institute of Agriculture and Botany: bronze portrait of retiring Director.
Official presentations to Agricultural Ministers and Research Directors in: China, Germany, Estonia, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgystan.
Morgan Stanley: Director's private collection.