Automata with Fi Henshall


Join Fi Henshall at our Mechanical Making Space for a weekend automata workshop.
23rd-24th November 2024.

Please read the full description before booking.

In stock



Make your own Automata with Fi Henshall

In-Person Workshop in Hastings, East Sussex

About Fi Henshall

Tin automata ©Fi HenshallFi’s figurative mechanical sculptures combine carved wood, old tins and found objects, with mechanisms engineered in brass and steel. This combination gives her great scope for improvisation and playfulness.

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. 

Increasingly she has been building electronic sound and lighting into her work in order to enhance its cinematic and theatrical qualities.

Fi has been making automata professionally since 2009, and her work is included in both national and international collections.

What will I make?
This workshop will introduce participants to basic mechanisms and enable them to experiment with ways in which they can be combined with form to create automata with a narrative theme. The combination of movement and materials such as wood, wire, metal tube and sheet, found objects and figures will be explored with simple mechanisms.

Fi will use some examples of her own work to demonstrate the mechanisms you will be working with, and to draw attention to the use of different materials, colours, textures and compositions. Some helpful books on automata making will also be provided. By the end of the first morning you will be provided with the basic ingredients of an automaton- cranks, cams, levers, pulleys and a treasure trove of other materials- which you can assemble, customise and elaborate on with help and guidance from Fi. At the end of the second afternoon there will be a short show and tell to enjoy each others creations and to discuss any improvements or future plans. 

Tin Plate Bird ©Fi HenshallTools & materials

Expect to work with wood, wire, metal tube and sheet, old tins and found objects. You will have access to a range of hand and powered tools.

Most materials will be provided by the tutor, but please bring any of your own interesting materials or found objects you would like to work with.

Who is it for?
Suitable for all abilities subject to a basic competence in craftwork and using hand and powered tools. You should also be prepared to develop your own creative ideas.

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

When is it?

Dates: Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November 2024
Time: 10am-5pm Saturday
10am-4pm Sunday
Cost: £395 including construction materials, use of tools and plenty of refreshments.

Not included: Accommodation and meals. We have a fridge on site if you would like to bring lunch or there are a wide range of cafés nearby.

Where is it?
The workshop will be hosted in CMT’s Mechanical Making Space. There will be a number of automata from our collection on display for you to enjoy and be inspired by.

Located in The Alley off Claremont, in the historic area of Hastings called Trinity Triangle or The America ground. This is an inspirational setting for a creative weekend surrounded by intriguing and quirky independent cafés and shops. What’s more you’ll be able to have a stroll on the seafront that is only a 2 minute walk from the Mechanical Making Space and Hastings station is a 7 minute walk so you won’t need the car.

Hastings Seafront at sunset

There are car parks nearby if you do need to drive. The closest is Priory Street Multi Storey

Address: CMT Mechanical Making Space, Rock House, The Alley (off Claremont), Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1HA
What3Words location: ///shakes.natively.steep

Accommodation suggestions: Visit 1066 Country
The nearest hotels are The White Rock Hotel and Vive Hastings.

The front door is at street level with no steps.
There are 2 gender neutral toilets including 1 accessible toilet on site.
The chairs will be wood or metal folding chairs with no arm rests.
If you have any further access requirements please let us know so we can make sure we meet your needs.

Cancellations & Refunds

To transfer to another course

  • Your request must be received eight weeks before the start of the workshop.
  • You may transfer to another course provided there is a place available
  • There will be a transfer charge of £30.


If you have to cancel your booking please contact us as soon as possible.

  • For cancellations made more than eight weeks before the start of the course, fees will be refunded minus a £50 cancellation charge
  • No refunds can be made if you cancel within eight weeks of the start date or fail to attend.

Cancellation by CMT

In the unfortunate event that we cancel the workshop you will receive a full refund or transfer to another course at no additional charge. We will not be liable for any travel or accommodation bookings that may have been made.

Our mission is to promote engineering and creativity through workshops, exhibitions and automata kits.

As a Community Interest Company all profits go toward this valuable work.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre Learning CIC
Company Number: 14598590
© 2024 Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. All rights reserved.
Join Waitlist We will inform you when the product arrives in stock. Please leave your valid email address below.

No fields found, please go to settings & save/reset fields