Be introduced to basic mechanisms and experiment with ways in which they can be combined with form to create automata with a narrative theme. The combination of movement and materials such as wood, wire, metal tube and sheet, found objects and figures will be explored with these simple mechanisms.
On the first evening, you will be introduced to a selection of books and automata that demonstrate the aims of the course and also draw attention to the use of different materials, colour, texture and composition. You will discuss what aspects you particularly hope to reflect in your work with the tutor.
On the next morning, you will be shown examples of the few basic mechanisms which you will be working with, and the various ways these can be exploited, as well as the range of materials and techniques to be used during the course. Explore the combination of movement and materials you wish to work with and the narrative theme of your work, so that you are ready to start work on your automaton by the afternoon.
Expect to work with wood, wire, metal tube and sheet, old tins and found objects. Most materials will be provided by the tutor, but please bring at least one interesting old tin, and any other materials or objects you want to incorporate in your work, to make interesting figures to articulate with these simple mechanisms.
The skills used on the course include the use of a jewellers' saw, a fretsaw/bandsaw, a pillar drill, wood carving with knives and chisels, and painting. You will generally be able to choose which materials, techniques and level of complexity you are most comfortable with, with an emphasis on the combination of different materials, textures and colours. You will continue to work on your automaton until the final afternoon.
In the final afternoon session, we will play with the finished pieces and discuss ideas for improvement, development or future projects.
Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above
Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.
6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).
8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.
Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.
From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).
Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.
Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.
Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.
(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)
Fi Henshall took a sculpture degree at Falmouth College of Arts graduating in 2004. She taught herself to carve marionettes, but found the idea of figures which could be made to perform and act out a scene by anyone even more appealing, and made her first automaton in 2009.