tom mcphee


Its done. First prototype of what i’m working on, it was a stressful last few days but got there in the end. had a few problems though which will be addressed when i’m back after the christmas break, most importantly is the shape of the porcelain tiles, the circular ones pictured here don’t work due to the shape of them, rectangle tiles make a really good sound due to the 4 corners which allows the sound to be created, and the circular ones don’t make any sound because of the lack of corners, so i will have to change that, also the display of it is going to change, to become more of an installation piece but that needs some working on. have a video of it working and images of close up coming soon.


These are the hammer parts which fit into the arms in the previous post. These are hand carved out of walnut wood, i had to fit the ends with a layer of fabric, so that when they hit the porcelain they created a more resounding sound then without fabric, so i created this using some copper wire which i think works well and looks good too. 


I’ve started working on an idea for a piece, which incorporates lights and shadows. The idea is that the piece appears like a covered structure with only a handle on show, when the handle is turned that triggers a light to come on inside which illuminates the mechanisms inside which in turn creates a shadow play for the viewer to witness. This is the first initial test, which went well, this piece shows a structure which rotates within a structure. Im really happy with this test, lots of possibilities. There is a video of the movement coming.

Here is the piece in working order. the sound only slightly gets caught in the video, one thing ive learnt is to stop using my phone to take these images as the quality isn’t good, so hopefully better photos will be up for my next project. I will have to try and record the sound again, I do like the way the arms and hammers move during use, but it didn’t work out how i wanted it to, which is frustrating. But i’m glad the project is done and i can draw a line under it, I feel like it went on for a bit too long, and in a way i had got a little tired of it which didn’t help in the finishing of the piece. I cant wait to start on the next project and im working out some ideas which im really excited about. Will keep you posted. Also future posts wont have quite so much text in them!


First week back in the studio after the christmas holidays has been busy, i’ve been trying to complete the prototype and get the sound working which has been a challenge, but i feel that i’m almost there, the appearance of the where the tiles are housed will change next week, still in prototype phase. I’ve also been doing some tests for introducing colour into the piece, although i want it to be more subtle then shown here, but i feel it needs something visual to catch the eye and to break up the wood. 


I’ve started to look at the options of combining acrylic with the wood i’m using for this project, contrasting the wood grain and tone with that of bright block coloured acrylic could provide an interesting combination, and i will be following on the tests next week to see how well it works.