Simple Carved Automata with Carlos Zapata


Join Carlos Zapata at our Mechanical Making Space for a weekend automata workshop.
12th-13th October 2024

Please read the full description before booking.

In stock



Simple Carved Automata with Carlos ZapataA carved wooden owl automata

In-Person Workshop in Hastings, East Sussex

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre has invited Carlos Zapata to run a two-day workshop to create your own carved automata in Hastings in October 2024.

Carlos has been making automata since the 1990’s. Over the years he has become more interested in keeping things simple within his own work. His distinctive carved and painted figures will be the starting point for our weekend of making.
Carlos will bring examples of his own work for you to study and be inspired by.

About Carlos Zapata
Working from his studio in Cornwall UK, Carlos has been making kinetic or mechanical sculptures professionally since the 90s. His sculptures are made out of wood and metal, and he often uses reclaimed wood and scrap (or recycled) metal in his artwork. He takes his influence mainly from South American, Asian, African and British art and his work is colourful and full of emotion, and often carries a political or social comment, in sharp contrast with humorous language.

What will I make?
You will make a carved wooden mechanical figure or object. The main mechanism will be a crank constructed from wire. You will also be able to add linkages to add extra movement such as a waving arm.

The weekend will start with an introduction to Carlos’s work and processes. There will be a safety induction for the tools. Carlos will then show you how he carves and you will get started carving your own figures or objects. You will experiment with wire to construct a mechanism that will bring your figure to life. Finally Carlos will demonstrate his painting technique for you to decorate your work.

Tools & materials

You will be provided with lime wood to carve your figure or object and wire to construct the mechanism.

We will be working with 2 sizes of simple knives. If you have your own carving tools you are welcome to bring those.

You will also have access to a selection of workshop tools such as a pillar drill, scroll saw and hand tools.

To finish there will be a selection of colourful Liquitex acrylic paints.
You are welcome to bring your own preferred tools, materials and objects that you enjoy working with to add to the mix.

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.

June 2024 Workshop Gallery


When is it

Dates: Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th October 2024
Time: 10am-5pm Saturday
10am-5pm 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 to take to the beach or there are a wide range of cafés nearby.

We will be there to welcome you from 9.30 am each day so you will have time to settle in and look around before we get started.

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 White Rock Hotel is offering preferential rates for workshop participants. Mention CMT when booking directly with them.

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.
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