Automaton workshop

Automaton model on table

Friday 12th November 2021 – 10am-4.30pm

This course is now fully booked. If you would like to be placed on a waiting list please contact us.

The National Motor Museum is pleased to be working with Fi Henshall on a creative workshop inspired by the Art Deco styled World Land Speed Record-breaking 1929 Golden Arrow.

After studying sculpture at Falmouth College of Arts, Fi turned her skills to creating figures which could be made to perform and act out a scene more appealing, and made her first automaton in 2009.

Fi creates automata from wood, metal, broken machinery, old tins and odd objects, working largely in recycled materials. She borrows techniques from any discipline she can pick up (carving, soldering, engineering, painting, modelling, jewellery making and more) to illustrate stories about strange characters and creatures. Fi is currently working on pieces for Cabaret Mechanical Theatre’s new touring exhibition.

Here is what you can expect on the day: –Automaton model by Fi Henshall

  • The day will start with taking inspiration from the unique art deco style Golden Arrow car in the Museum. Then join Fi in the Collections Centre to enjoy a day of creativity focussed on experimenting with how simple mechanisms can be combined with form to create automata.
  • Fi will take you through some different examples of basic mechanisms, materials and automata and suggest ways yous can incorporate these into your own designs. She will also guide you in the use of basic tools and templates.
  • Using a range of materials such as wood, wire, old tins and found objects you will build and make a design of your choice, guided by Fi and inspired by Golden Arrow.

Additional information

All tools and materials will be provided by the tutor, but please feel free to bring along any interesting old tins, and any other materials or objects you might want to incorporate in your work. We suggest you bring an apron.

If you have any favourite hand tools (marked with your name), please also feel free to bring these along as well as any of your own ideas, pictures and designs, although lots of imagery and design ideas will be available as well as guidance throughout the day.

Tea and coffee will be available, you can choose to bring a packed lunch or there is an onsite restaurant.

As the workshop is part of a grant-funded project we are able to offer it at a discounted rate of £40. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

For more information or to book a workshop please contact Gail Stewart-Bye on 07587 133879 or email

Find out more about Fi and her inspiring creations.


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