Founder & Artist
Interview with Dan
Could you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what made you start the business?
I began by doing an engineering design degree but on graduating I was drawn to making musical instruments, spending the rest of my twenties as a maker/musician/composer collaborating with artists and performers, mostly on the more edgy, experimental side of things. I then moved to London where I studied for a Computer Science Masters which kicked off a decade spent designing internet applications and online 3D worlds. As the old century came to an end it was time for a change, so I headed up to the Yorkshire hills to a job as a funeral director. This was deeply rewarding work but over time I started missing my creative life. Bit by bit, ideas for a new creative venture started to form.
I decided this was to be my last career change so I listed of all the things I had enjoyed over the years and came up with BLOTT WORKS. This seemed the ideal way to combine the engineer in me with the artist in me.
What inspires your work?
I hand-engineer useful sculpture basing my work around simple, functionally beautiful mechanisms and imbuing them with character and a life of their own. My work often seems to take on natural forms, like a bird or a flower. This is largely an intuitive process, bringing together the manufactured and the natural worlds and exploring how simple behaviour can convey so much personality. The pieces are often playful, and usually have a practical use, such as a lamp or a clock. I like the idea that people are actively engaged with them as part of their daily life.
I’m someone who absorbs the world around them, enjoying being surprised by the ideas that surface. I work by the layering of disparate things, like a flower and a flame, or a bird and crane. But inevitably I only discover these influences after I’ve started. I thrive on the overlaps and the gaps between things and love designing things that resonate on multiple levels.
What is the most important thing for you in your business?
I value uniqueness and originality very highly and enjoy doing new things in new ways. But it is also very important that my work is loved and respected by other people; I wouldn't do it just for its own sake - my work must have an adoring audience! I like to start from scratch with a clean slate when making new work, and this is the main reason I don't upcycle or recycle things very often, despite having a lot of respect for people that do.
I mainly use simple, recyclable materials or materials that come from sustainable sources, such as the hardwoods that I use in most of my work, and I make everything by hand in my workshop on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border. If there is something I can't do myself then I usually find someone locally who can.