Sunday, 26 January 2020

Learning to use machinery.



The photo above shows the workshop at the Art College where I did my one year 'Foundation Course', before going on to my degree course elsewhere.

I attended four different Art Colleges in all, but the one above was probably where I learned the most; and most of that was learnt in this workshop.

It was where we learned how to use dangerous heavy machinery; the sort where one wrong move, and you could lose a hand.

There were all sorts of saws, drills, welding kits (both gas and electric), sanding machines, metal benders, plastic vacuum formers; you name it, it was there. It was noisy and dirty, and even turning some of the machines on was quite intimidating to some of the more 'delicate' students.

The workshop was where we learned about 'possibilities'; how one could transform one object into another. We also learned how to do so with the least amount of danger.

Looking at the picture reminds me of one particular event. My good friend Tony needed to weld something on his motorbike. He brought the bike into the workshop, laid it down on the ground, and started to weld as petrol dripped from the tank just a foot or so away. As you might imagine there was a huge rush for the exit as we all awaited the inevitable huge explosion. 

Somehow he got away with it.



19 comments:

  1. A new slant to suffering for your art.

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    Replies
    1. A great year spent learning and experimenting. The best year of all my years at college.

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  2. I remember the 60s and girls in mini skirts. I could never concentrate on my work.

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    Replies
    1. The strangest thing was seeing them (some as young as 16) using arc-welding kit, or with their fingers just centimetres away from vicious band-saws.

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    2. Austrian friend of mine lost ends off three fingers operating a saw around that time. He went on to repair clocks and even intricate watches. Amazing man. He's now turned 90. Indefatigable is the word to describe him.

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    3. Well done him; I would be useless at that even with my hands complete.

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    4. I have to admit I’m all thumbs. Can’t even knock the proverbial nail in straight. My bro inherited the practical genes. I feel I spend much of my time in another dimension.

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    5. In effect never outgrown a childhood mentality.

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    6. I try to pretend that I'm a reasonable DIY person, just so my entourage don't all think I'm useless.

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  3. I have either the advantage or the disadvantage (I've never been sure which) of being a jack of all trades (DIY and academic) and master of absolutely none.

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    Replies
    1. I think that's what they tried to eradicate. They introduced us to all the skills available, then waited to see if one particular one stood out. Usually it didn't, and we chose our degree courses randomly.

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  4. And I am sure he never did anything like that again! Machinery and me just don't mix and that has taught me something Cro - girls should be taught these skills equally with boys- after all we encounter plenty of dangers in the kitchen.

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    1. In my experience the girls did just as well as the boys with the machines. Once they had got used to all the noise and dirt, they managed perfectly well.

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  5. I spent pretty much my entire sculpture course learning techniques. Not much art involved.

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    Replies
    1. That was probably the best thing about it. Learn the skills, then let your intuition do the rest.

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  6. Daughter currently doing art at uni. She avoided pure painting and drawing courses and chose one with lots of practical stuff. Pottery and wood block in favour at the moment, but looking forward to glass and metalwork.

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    Replies
    1. Looking at your picture - no aprons! But of course - they're all Art students.

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    2. All the best to your daughter. No, none of us wore any protective clothing; not even goggles! Pre-elf-n-safety gives away my great age.

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