Sketchbook

These days my sketchbook is mostly full of lists. They’re not very coherent- they tend to be a mixture of materials and tools I need, ideas I want to research and stuff I need to get for the kids’ pack lunches. I map figures out in a sketchbook before roughing them out on the bandsaw, I draw mechanisms when I can’t quite fit them in my brain and I occasionally sketch something I’m in the middle of if the composition isn’t quite right. I enjoy drawing but I find it hard to sit still for long enough so I only do detailed drawings if someone asks for details for a commission. Once I start the making process, pieces seem to have their own ideas about how they want to go…


Found Objects

The world is full of fascinating, beautifully made and ostensibly obsolete objects. Turning as many of these as I can get my hands on into automata is an excuse to fill my workshop with endless odd bits and pieces that fill me with joy. The shape or story of an object often informs a piece, thus an old lamp becomes a flying machine or a teapot becomes a fish pond.


The Barge

My kids and I live on the river in a couple of sailing boats and for years my workshop has been a few miles away at the top of a large hill. I desperately wanted a new workshop that would have lots of natural light (I’ve spent years in caves!), no neighbours who could be upset by noise and that would be close enough for my kids to come and go as much as they like. When someone suggested the barge I swore I wouldn’t even think about it because I needed a third boat like I needed a hole in the head. Within forty-eight hours I had completely come round to the idea. She needed quite a lot of work before I could start moving stuff on, and then everything had to be moved over by boat. I installed a big solar panel, a wind geni and an old lister generator for power, and in time I’ll add another solar panel and a bigger battery bank. There’s still more work to do of course, but in a couple of weeks I’ll move the other two boats alongside her and for the first time the boats, the workshop, the kids and I will all be in one place! 

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