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Automata - making nonsense out of rubbish 

See course details, dates, costs, tutors & stories from students below
Mechanical toys

Over this fun four day automata workshop, you will make entertaining mechanical contraptions out of carved wood, wire, old tins or found objects and mechanisms engineered in brass and steel. 

Fi Henshall will introduce you to basic mechanisms, cams, cogs or cranks with which you can experiment and bring your imagination to life... to make your chimneysweep sweep, your dog to lift its leg, chicken to peck or teapot to clack its lid.

Having had a play with mechanisms, you will plan your characters and their activities, making them from bits & bobs brought by Fi, or the quirky old trinkets you bring with you.

What nonsense will you make out of rubbish and what will they do at the turn of a handle?

Fi Henshall.jpeg



24-27 August 2024

Automata mechanical toys


4 day course - £485 - Tuition fees

plus £50 materials

Tea, coffee and simple lunch included in your course price


We also offer accommodation & evening meals

Click here to see what we offer

This course is aimed at adults, aged 18yrs + and is suitable for beginners to those with experience

Fi Henshall - automata

Throughout history inventors, showmen, eccentrics and charlatans have built mechanical contraptions who’s primary purpose was to deceive or entertain. The relationship between the perceived magic and the real mechanical ingenuity that animates these devices is something that has always fascinated Fi Henshall.

Fi's figurative mechanical sculptures combine carved wood, old tins and found objects, with mechanisms engineered in brass and steel.
Her work typically depicts strange scenes and eccentric characters which mechanically re-enact fragments of dream-like narratives. Drawing upon folk tales and myth, Fi's automata merge the everyday with humour and menacing elements of absurdity. 

Fi has been making automata professionally since 2009, and her work is included in both national and international collections. She often accepts commissions and film set design work.

Stories from our students
Woodwork and metal courses, classes and workshops in Wales
All bright eyed for 4 days of automata fun! Wernog Wood is the happiest place on earth - Patsy
Woodwork and metal courses, classes and workshops in Wales
Thanks for a great fun packed course. Gone home with my creations for a rest! - Dan
Woodwork and metal courses, classes and workshops in Wales
 Had such a wonderful time and Fi was a brilliant tutor

Upcoming Dates

Upcoming dates

Join the waiting list or express interest in future courses

If a course is full, please join the waiting list as we will contact you in case of any cancellation ... it does happen!


If you would like to attend a course but can't make it on the available date, you can register interest in future dates.

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