Workbox Introduction: Mister Finch
Mister Finch, who describes himself as
'A male textile artist living in the North of England making fairytale creatures from the things he finds.'
And boy, is he inventive with what he finds!
The bowls of spoons are engraved to become pieces of breastplate poetry on a dying bird, rust spotted tray cloths are turned into moth wings and silver punch bowls are transformed into the perfect perch for a life sized swan. His creatures materialise from tales of folklore, coloured with tea stains and sooty inks painted onto kimono silks, canvas and velvets. His hand stitches are meaty & bold.
The chap on the left is a Finch creation called Peabody who lives with us in the Applewood workshop. His face has been 'painted' with tea and he has a flash of handstitch under his chin. His name is engraved onto his silver medallion.
A gulp of magpies wait patiently in Finch's studio
So, you may ask, what does such an inventive maker keep in his workbox?
A squirrel, engraved scissors and surgical clamps of course!
At the end of his working day (or night, he's a bit of a Nightowl too), Finch tidies up his equipment into this vintage box above and rounds up his two cats which keep him company in the studio. Here's a closer look at what's in there...
Finch: "These are the surgical clamps I think most people who make soft sculpture use. It was Abby Glassenberg (American textile artist) who got me onto these. I modified mine. I cut off the bit on the handles that locks and filed them smooth. I preferred to use them without the clamp so they are more like scissors. I got one pair off eBay and the other from a fly fishing shop. I use them all day long and break about two pairs a year. Couldn't live without them.
I use bradawls lots to to help pull wire through and the mattress needles are great for everything. I generally use big needles for most things. I find using large darning needles stops my fingers from aching from sewing all day."
Pliers "I use small tough ones to bend wire. These are really good, they're from Clas Ohlson and were about £12 but really worth it! Great for bending spider legs."
"The red pliers are reverse pliers and I use these for helping to add rings to things."
" I use a couple of files which are only the cheap kind as they get a real battering and I don't really take good care of them as I should! I use them to smooth out moth antennae and wire joints so use them lots really.
The wooden squirrel pot keeps my pencils to hand!
I always use tailors chalk and have drawers filed with crushed crumbs and bits of it.
I wear glasses more and more now so always have these around."
("We know that feeling!" says Murgatroyd...).
" I have a small magnetic pin cushion for small pins and an oval pincushion I made myself which is made from an old dining service tray stuffed firmly with wire wool which I use everyday and really helps to keep my pins sharp"
(M&B - What a crackin' idea! )
"I use the big pins the most as I sew through plastic and thick cottons so these are the most useful to me."
" I love using big old metal scissors, use them only for fabric as everyone should!
I've had these years & love them they are Janome ones and they are engraved on the blades which you can read when they are open...'the snow fell silently'...... I always wanted scissors to say this! so I did this myself."
"The snips in the centre are the thing that I use for everything and they are always in my hand. They are marvelous. I've had the cheap version of these before but these are amazing! Again, heavy and metal like the scissors and feel great to use. They can also be unscrewed and sharpened. Would be lost without these. Got them off eBay for £11?"
If you'd like to read more about the creations and adventures of Mister Finch you can begin by reading his blog HERE and visiting his online Etsy shop HERE. Also, if you're any where near York in the near future keep your eyes out for the window of, the soon to open, Yorkshire Soap Co...
With the exception of Peabody, all images belong to Mister Finch - a big thank you to him for giving up his time to take part in this series.