"Tom is an excellent tutor and we got on really well. The sessions were really useful and I’ve learned a lot about technical drawings, building “sketch” models out of cardboard and other cheap materials before moving on to MDF board prototypes in preparation for the final model made in more expensive materials: best quality plywood, with brass and steel elements.
Tom really helped me with the design element of the process and I learned to appreciate the more thoughtful approach he suggested. He also recommended other makers whose work was worth looking at and books that would provide help and advice. Along the way I’ve learned the pros and cons of different types of materials and fabrication techniques. It’s the first time I’ve done some of this (tech drawing, brass work and silver soldering) since third year metalwork at school in 1969 - I’m much better at it now than I was then!"
Tom Wilkinson responded:
" Andy was a very capable student. Not entirely a novice to start with, but with excellent making skills and a keenness to learn. He accepted the challenge of making a more complex mechanism in order to up the illusionary effect and worked hard to forfil each stage set. I hope he came away by the end of the course armed with a variety of techniques and tips that will enable him to grow and expand his automata making horizons. Although Andy didn't get to finishing his project, we did reach the final stage where all the tricky stuff had been worked out so he could proceed at his own pace, between tending his garden, in making the final version and bringing it to life with refinement of the characterisation and surface finish. I really look forward to seeing the finished automaton."
"This is a very satisfying and enjoyable course to take. Tom is an excellent tutor who adapts his teaching method to the individual. He is very knowledgeable about his subject matter and shares this expertise readily. The course is online, but we were still able to communicate what needed to be seen and heard. Although I undertook this course as part of a practical research project, it has been good grounding and I am now fascinated by, and committed to making more complex automata."
"Tom is an inspirational tutor, full of ideas and recommendations. I've already learned so much and built my first cardboard sketch. I have an understanding on what tools to use and how to examine an animal in order to translate that into a 2D moving piece. Tom has recommended other artists for me to look at and that has led to new ideas and even more inspiration. A great start to a wonderful programme!"