As one journey ends another begins

 

It was with some sadness (weep!) that postgraduate and MA students Francoise Collanges and Brittany Cox recently fled, or rather graduated from the West Dean nest.   Over the summer period they completed their practical MA projects and accompanying 12,000 word theses.  Both Francoises work in the study of early electro-magnetic clocks and Brittany’s in the materials used inside automata that smoke (!) will undoubtedly add value to the body of knowledge in these specialist fields. During the process, a lot of fun, blood sweat and tears ensued.  Result! We wish them both well.

 

MA Student Francoise Collanges turning boxwood. Rubber hammer at the ready

 

Early October saw the intake of new students and the welcome back of those returning.  All students new to the clocks programme at West Dean begin their long journey through horological bench craft skill by designing and making their very own clock.  As a beginning, clockmaking embraces so many of the materials, tools, techniques required for later life as conservator restorers.  The world of turning, soldering, filing and scraping, geometry, mechanics  and a little mathematics thrown in is a demanding one, and interestingly, the outcomes from what is outwardly a uniform process, are as diverse as the students themselves.  Christmas should see trains and frames completed, entire clocks by awards day 2013.

 
 

Clock model taking shape

Three wheel train clock, hand-made by every new student

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Returning students on Diploma and Postgraduate programmes are working on historic clock projects.  These span sensitive cleaning and conservation of a mystery clock by Houdin, through the repair of an imposing ormolu mounted mantel clock signed Cellier, to the reinstatement of verge and crownwheel  escapement to an early eighteenth century spring clock. Many of the projects are multi-media and therefore require interdepartmental liaison in the conservation and repair processes.  Never a dull day in clockmaking.

 

Postgraduate Student Kenneth Cobb disassembles a ‘Mystery’ clock by Houdin

Dial signed Cellier with damage to dial foot. An interdepartmental project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always, lots to do, lots to see.

 

Cutting a contrate wheel

Quest scholar Tim Hughes inspects a minute wheel pinion for wear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Dean holds its Open Day on Saturday 10th November 2012.  All welcome.  See www.westdean.org.uk

 

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