There’s an interesting selection of makers at Design Miami Basel this week as part of the Craft Council‘s showcase: ‘Nature Lab’. And a rather nice short film you can watch, talking to the 6 selected makers on show about the creation of their elemental objects inspired by the natural world. One of those featured is our member Marlene Huissoud talking about her father’s 600 hive bee keeping operation and the beauty of the natural world. Click here to watch. Amazing.
Further experimentation – this time happening as part of Beirut Design Week as Seetal Solanki, our resident materials expert delivered a bio-plastics cooking workshop, exploring how plastics can be made from simple cooking ingredients such as tapioca flour, corn starch, vinegar, water and oil. Highlighting the potential for making sustainable plastics from waste materials, the session provided an insight into bio-factoring and how to create with the circular economy in mind.
Designers exhibiting as part of the Design Week were responding to the theme of Growing Sustainably, and the garbage crisis the country is facing. The lack of landfills means that there is an increased abundance of waste materials. Local designers are now using wood glue, plastic bags and fruit leather amongst other materials to create products that relate to their environment and surroundings.
Pictured above are some furniture pieces made by local designers from plastic created from 3600 waste plastic bags. If you’re interested in new forms of plastic in general, its worth checking out preciousplastic.com. Seetal will be curating a programme of talks and workshops in September to launch the British Council’s Maker Library here at Blackhorse Workshop.
We’ve been developing a new course in our forge, showing you how to cast an aluminium universal joint. This technique will give you the skills to create metal structures that are strong and adaptable and can be combined with standard timbers to make benches, tables, market stalls and shop fit-outs…whatever project you’ve got in mind.
Experiments shown here are using a sand casting technique, where the liquid aluminium is poured into a mould. If you’re keen to give it a go, the dates to pencil in are the 24th & 25th September. More details to follow soon.
Building and painting against a backdrop of a different kind, resident set designer Anna Oldham Cooper has been busy creating the tower for the rather incredible Harrods British Eccentrics Garden showing all this week at the Chelsea Flower show. Commissioned by Irish garden designer and TV star Diarmuid Gavin, the roof majestically lifts off in true W.Heath Robinson cranky style.
We’re nothing short of impressed here. Anna’s work has previously featured in commercials, editorials, films and installations with clients including Nike, Wallpaper, GQ and Somerset House. So if you’re in the market for some fake towering brickwork (!), then head over to her website to see more extraordinary creations: annaoldhamcooper.com
Spanish sculptor Michelangelo Arteaga shown here in the midst of creating his brand new sculpture: Embrace, which will soon be leaving the workshop to feature in the National Sculpture Prize at Broomhill, Devon.
Arteaga’s work is centred around building spacial forms that incorporate human behaviours. This piece has been constructed using traditional boat-building techniques, and the surface coated in the same lime wash used on the buildings of his hometown of Cadiz. As you enter the structure you are immediately enveloped in a protective calming embrace, that allows you to step outside the frantic space that is urban life.
So, if you happen to be heading to Devon, be sure to pay a visit. Click here for all the details.
SAVE THE DATE! Next Friday 13th May we’ll be putting a spanner in the works as we swap spanners for speakers and benches for beats. Join us for a night of live music delivered in spectacular style from headliners Upset Stomach (on at 8pm) followed by DJ Toby Wan-Luv Kenobi from Pulse Studios spinning the decks.
Click here for all the details and to book your tickets.
Reports just in of the incredible dust stirring machine:‘Simoom: A Laboratory in the Desert’ designed and built by our technician Toby Poolman and member Hannah Schmidt for the recent Afrikaburn festival in the Tankwa Karoo Desert, South Africa.
Poolman & Schmidt’s first mechanical machine collaboration – a spectacular set of moving sails, was built for last year’s London Design Festival. This follow up structure was developed here at the workshop to explore the unknown landscape of dust that the machine was set to encounter. We look forward to hearing more dusty tales on the makers return…
Thanks to the legendary God’s Own Junkyard, Walthamstow has become somewhat famous for its neon, so we decided that it was high time to learn the secret art. We’ve invited Neon Mobile Workshops to run a weekend series of special one day beginner’s courses and evening sessions this September to reveal the tricks behind working with light. Choose from a day long course on Saturday 10th Sept or Sunday 11th Sept where you’ll get to take away a sign you design yourself, or a neon taster session on the Saturday evening with mesmerising demonstrations of cutting, blowing, stretching, bending and fusing glass with flame, filling with gas and illuminating with electricity. It may not come cheap, but certainly an experience you’ll never forget! Places are limited, so book soon to avoid disappointment…
For full details click here.
Great to see the workshop on TV again this week, as another of our members featured on the BBC show ‘Money for Nothing‘. Check out surface & wallpaper designer Dan Heath as he transforms an old rusty metal chest into a stunning cocktail cabinet.
Hoarding an old bit of junk yourself? Sign up to our machine shop induction programme and get working on a transformation of your own. Catch up on the full episode here.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be in Milan this week for the Salone de Mobile, don’t miss the stunning new piece from Studio Marlene Huissoud:‘Rhythm – Of Insects & Men’ on show at La Terrace (Via Private Oslavia 1, 20134 Milano).
Marlene, who’s studio is based at the workshop is a French materials designer who comes from a family of beekeepers. Her stunning new piece continues her exploration of bio resin, the material produced by the honeybee as waste, but now combining it with commonly discarded human glass waste. The pieces questions the idea of how two waste materials, natural and industrial can complement each other, giving an up-cycling approach, crucial to re-orientating ourselves to the natural world and finding new ways of generating cycles in our making process. For a totally absorbing read, head over to www.marlene-huissoud.com