Working with my dad

I spent Tuesday after writing an abstract with my mum and dad. My parents have always been hugely influential in my ‘making’. My mum a self taught seamstress has always made me clothes and other things, in fact when I arrived one of the first things she showed me were two repaired items I had given her and a tweed stuffed reindeer head for on the wall at Christmas! In fact she’s made two! My love of fabric and making definitely was started by her.

My dad also has always been a maker and a do-er! He worked as an apprentice and was an engineer for much of his working life. I used to help him on a weeken with restoring his old car and we used to make alsorts of bits when I was little. So I knew he would know how to help with the brass soldering. 

Firstly, it started in a coffee shop on Saturday. I was telling him about how I intended to make the frame and showed him a picture of the jig I had made to cut the brass.  Thankfully he realised I’d cut the angle wrong on the jig and so it wouldn’t work. He had his own already and knew to clamo the metal, etc, things I wouldn’t have thought of. 

We cut the frame and then I thought I’d need to find someone to solder it, however after looking on YouTube we realised we could give it a go! 

Dad got a board and pins (again something I wouldn’t have thought of) and as in the top picture arranged the brass angle ready to solder. 

Telling me stories about metal working when he was an apprentice.  How they used to do it…stories that I’ve heard snippets of before which it always nice. Mum told me later that he’d won an award for being the best apprentice but hadn’t picked it up. He’s never blown his own trumpet about things, but quietly got on with the job… Filing metal square and cutting joint “like that”, getting me to hold things etc I learned a lot from it! Even the dog got in on the action! 

It also made me change the design slightly to show off more of the object rather than box it in with brass, due to technicalities and observation.

It was more than just getting the job done with my dad, but more the experience and time spent together learning new skills and remembering the experience and storytelling. This phd project seems to have become more than just making objects. More about experiences and building memories as well as preserving them. 

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