Sheffield Design Week Workshop:
Every guitar needs to be properly set-up and maintained to play at it's best. My Design Week workshop will be a guide to electric guitar set-up.This will include truss rod adjustment, setting the string action, setting intonation, and stringing a guitar properly.
I will also give a small tour of my very small workshop and be answering questions about my practice.
Hopefully people will come away with an understanding of what it takes to build a guitar and the new ability to maintain an instrument themselves.
Workshop times and dates:
Sunday October 30th
Workshop One: 1pm-2pm
Workshop Two: 3pm-4pm
How many people can attend each workshop?
Cost per person for attending your workshop:
Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Since an early age, I was always obsessed with guitars. Being the kind of kid who takes his new watch apart to see how it works, I was always tinkering with my instruments, trying to figure out what affects the sound and trying to alter or improve them.
I also have a fondness mid 20th Century industrial designers like Harley Earl and Raymond Leowy. My love for their work led me into the possibility of becoming a car designer; however, I quickly realised I would never successfully recapture what I loved about that era's styling.
Many of the styling cues - the sweeping lines, the chrome and the colours - are still relevant to electric guitars and I always liked the way that in the 50s and 60s Leo Fender tried to make his guitars look like they came off the General Motors assembly line.
How would you describe your work?
I am a guitar maker making custom instruments from a mix of new and reclaimed materials taking styling cues from the mid 20th Century.
Where are you based? How would you describe Portland Works and your workshop?
My workshop is currently in A-block at the front of the building although from November I will be situated at the back left of the courtyard in a new larger space as I have steadily outgrown the modest room I am in now. Being part of Portland Works has enabled me to achieve as much as I have. Being around many experienced makers from different disciplines who are happy to help has been invaluable.
Thinking of your role as a maker, what are you most proud of, and why?Much of the last 18 months have been one step forward, two steps back and at times I have felt like Sisyphus rolling the rock up the hill, only to watch it roll back down again. Because of this I feel proud of my problem solving abilities and my adaptability to wildly differing working methods.
On a material level though the first chord played on my first instrument felt pretty good and was a long time coming.
What is the most satisfying part of the work you do?
I really like doing the things that begin to reveal how the finished piece will look. Scraping the binding, applying colour coats and buffing the final finish are all pretty rewarding. Seeing something from your imagination begin to take a physical form is incredibly satisfying.
What would be your dream project?
To build a time machine.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am planning my first production run, finalising the design and planning what materials I will be using.
Also, I'm probably boring the crap out of people who don't want to talk about screw sizes or wood grain.
When you're not working, what do you like to do?
I record music and play music live with The Death Rays of Ardilla but be honest I never really turn off.
Anything at all that you'd like to let us know about your work: (eg. when you started the business, is it a family business, how have you changed over the years, what makes what you do different / special)
I moved into Portland Works 18 months ago. Much of this time has been spent making specialised tools, jigs and getting to grips with some of the processes involved.
Information about Portland Works:
Portland Works, a red brick grade II* listed factory, is one of Sheffield’s most iconic Victorian buildings. Built in 1879, the engine room of Sheffield’s industrial revolution has diversified substantially over the last century. The birthplace of stainless steel is now home to 23 makers specialising in contemporary and traditional manufacturing. Product versatility extends from custom made knives to sipping gins. Items produced today at Portland Works play a role in a myriad of daily activities from keeping coats off of the floor at Arbourthorne Primary School to serving cream cakes at the Savoy, Britain’s first luxury hotel.
Two world wars later and Portland Works has seen better days, despite the odds being stacked against renovation and rebirth, the site of significant historical importance was saved in 2013 by over 500 community shareholders. The once neglected building is now in a state of continued renovation, steadily transforming a romantic ruin into affordable and retrofitted workshops fit for future generations of Sheffield makers.
Find out more information www.portlandworks.co.uk
Georgina Barrett - Manager
0114 275 9354