Tell us a bit about yourself!
I graduated from art school but had some metalwork skills from my childhood being around my Dads car workshop. I never really thought about the idea of learning skills - we just had a go with stuff - spraying cars, welding bits and bobs. I was never going to do a desk job, so working with my hands was the only way I was going to have a career.
Did you go through formal education? If so, what did you study and where? If not please explain your journey.
I went to Chelsea College of Art - That taught me nothing about 'making' but it gave me a knowledge and friendship group in the art world. Some hands-on skills came from my childhood, but I've had to learn alot on the way. The biggest thing I took from my childhood was the confidence to try a skill and fail, keep trying and improve over a long timeframe.
Did this have a positive or negative impact on your chosen career?
Art School was a great way to find a way into the creative industry
Who inspires you?
I'm inspired by the generation before me who still have the hands-on skills that are disappearing - manipulating metal in ways that CNC equipment cannot, welding with a flame and some of the old school skillsets that take decades to perfect.
What’s the scariest thing about your job and how have you overcome it?
The scariest thing is the risk when things go wrong - which they do because of the highly bespoke nature of what we do.
We often quote a firm price and a firm deadline, so when things go wrong I have to make sure I resolve it. This has helped with a good reputation I think, but has cost me alot of money and some all-nighters working. It can be very painful but you need to make sure you have downtime and learn from it each time.
What do you want to change about your industry?
The industry NEEDS to be more inclusive and younger. I am surrounded by 50/60 year old men that are very skilled but are fed-up and tired. Alot of workshops suffer from toxic masculinity, passed on from apprenticeship tutors and older members of staff. -it leads to a crappy work environment that isn't inclusive or safe. Anyone can do this job.
What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your field?
Get some formal training to figure out a speciality you enjoy - even a short course. Study youtube, get some materials in your hands. Find a passion and interest: That will fuel you to keep trying when you find the learning process difficult. Hands-on skills can take years to perfect, so don't expect too much too soon. Be humble, the materials will boss you around, but take time to stand back and appreciate what you can do sometimes.