Continuing The Value of Making project and inspired by the Engineering Department of the Natural History Museum I have made three new works. Chuck Key on Lathe, Bridgeport Milling Machine and Swarf Brush on Mill. This work will be launched at Mint London on 9 May .
When I visited the Museums’ Engineering department it was the Lathes and Mills that caught my imagination, these oily giants reminded me of the well equipped workshops of my school and university. I didn’t study Textiles instead choosing Design and Technology and Wood, Metal and Plastics. The idea of this project is to celebrate the people like Steve at the NHM who use great skill and knowledge and experience everyday to make things, to machine parts, to literally conjure mechanisms from raw materials.
Interestingly Tate Britain is currently showing Mike Nelsons The Asset Strippers - Accumulating what he calls the end of an era, Nelson has created monuments from salvaged industrial machinery. He says ‘ultimately my work has always focused on humanity and I think this is what has drawn me to these objects as most bear the traces of those who used them’.
There is a synergy between Nelsons work and Suttles affirmation that he is the last of his kind. I’m much more hopeful though. I’m hopeful about how we can use new technology and design innovation to improve peoples lives, but also hopeful because there is a grassroots move towards mending and away from obsalescence. People who make things are creative, imaginative problem solvers, I’m really interested in making work that is hopeful and champions Makers like Steve Suttle at the National History Museum. celebrating their value and holding them up as role models for the next generation.
You can read more about these pieces and The Value of Making project in my previous journal posts.