A Gardening Machine

By Kristi Minchin

February 17th, 2017

After working with Brainchild for the past two years I was delighted to be invited to design an artwork for the courtyard of Platform. The Brainchild Team are always so supportive so I was excited to see what would come of this project.

A site visit was set up with Marina and the brief was very open: an arch to walk through; must compliment the existing planters in the courtyard and, as an optional side note ‘maybe it could include some plants too.’ This was all I needed to hear to start the ideas flowing.

While at University I’d collaborated with some friends on a ‘watering machine’ entitled Garden Gizmo. This piece came at a time when I was finding this mechanical style that is intrinsic to my aesthetic now, and the Platform archway was the perfect opportunity to follow on from that.

Gardening Gizmo, 2014. A collaboration with Philip Bailey, Claire Edwardes and Abby Foord

There was a lot of sketching for this piece, on paper and in illustrator, but the idea didn’t change too much from the starting point; a ‘machine’ that is watering plants that are set into the archway. The majority of my sculptures are interactive and include hand-powered mechanisms for the user to engage with. I did originally want to have real water be pushed around the archway using a hand pump, but quickly realised that gravity and engineering skill weren’t on my side. Instead I decided to go with a 2D caricature of this idea.

First sketches

After a bit of back and forth with the Platform gang to finalise the design we were ready to go. Construction was tough as this was the largest sculpture I had produced exclusively from my cramped bedroom, but it was manageable. All the elements were designed in illustrator; then transferred onto the wood and cut out using a jigsaw.

Despite it being the depths of winter when planning this piece, I could only ever picture the archway surrounded by people on a gorgeous summer afternoon, hence why the colour palette is so bright! I always work in bright colours but decided to use slightly more pastel tones for this artwork, I knew it would stand out against the black walls of Platform.

When it was time to install I made a timber frame on site to attach all the pre-constructed elements to. It was stressful (and cold!) but incredibly rewarding to see months worth of designs come to life over a two day period.

Big love to the Platform and Brainchild gang for asking me to get involved, it was a pleasure.

To see more of Kristi’s work go to www.kristiminchin.co.uk or follow her on instagram @kristiminchin