what the scribbles became

I was recently asked to be part of an A&C Black publication, about artists and their drawings.
It prompted the digging out and scanning of some of the more interesting works, especially when the scribble had led to bigger things. Here are some pics of what was on paper, and then what it became.

1986 and some sketches for a rocket seat, inspired by nothing more than having  made a tool to press those dimples into sheet steel, thinking it reminded me of a 60’s rocket seat texture. The decision to put a cable-operated multi-directional radar dish on top came during the process of making it.

Various options considered before final result:

and here is (one of) the finished chairs. I made about 9 variations on the theme in the end; one is in Hove Museum’s collection, one went to the Vitra design museum… a client in Chicago..etc;

Dan Dare chair with multi-directional radar dish

Dan Dares Pram (with cable operated rocket flame) was a natural progression, and made at the same time (1988) as a coiled cactus on wheels:

This photo by Jon Pratty was always a favourite:

I made a range of semi-functional and sculptural furniture from 1988 – 1992 ish; cupboards and sprawling couches:

scribbles for a “castle” cupboard, and what became known as “Modular Cupboard”.

…and shown here, a privately commissioned “Upholstered Couch”, complete with cupboards for books & bottles, and a reading light.

Public art started kicking in (for me, anyway) in the early ’90s. This Chandelier for Wolverhampton Art Gallery was commissioned in ’94:

there are loads of variations on a theme for this, resulting in…..


240 low voltage light bulbs ~ 6m high.

Probably the biggest commission I have ever, and will ever, work on, is this 65m bridge in Machynlleth, Wales (2000). Liaised with engineer at Powys County Council over design of main pylon and cables and then I manufactured all of the parapets.

and shown here with “Car” from 1988

Back to 1988/89-ish and a music machine for “Erik the Viking” ~ a Terry Jones/Monty Python film. I was asked to fax some sketches; the brief stated “..must be able to be rolled on to the set, have a seat for a man to sit on and moving parts that we will put some sounds over, oh.. and we need it in 10 days time to fly it to Malta for filming…”

1989 and my favourite ever piece of furniture “Dog Bollock Wardrobe”

I still have this cupboard in my living room. Can’t believe it’s 23 years old.

and another favourite, the first “Cooker Seat” (1987) ~ 240v cooker ring: this chair does not conform to current Health & Safety regulations. I think I made 4 or 5 to order in the end.

The initial sketch:

and another Jon Pratty pic of the final result:

At last – the book is out – “Making and Drawing” by Kyra Cane ISBN 978-1-4081-3451-1

Contains some nice pics of mine!



About Jon

I'm the Grumpy Man of Metal. What more do you need to know? Bah!
This entry was posted in childrens book, craft, engineering, jon mills, metaljon, metalwork, Mr Watt Goes to the Museum and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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