We The People: Working with Claire Fontaine & Karst Gallery

We were approached by Plymouth-based contemporary art producer Vickie Fear to assist artist Claire Fontaine and the Karst Gallery in the production of the artwork 'UK (Burnt /Unburnt)' which formed part of the exhibition 'We The People Are The Work'.

UK (Burnt/Unburnt), (2011-17) is a map of Great Britain composed with matchsticks planted into the wall and subsequently ignited. The aspect of the shape of the country once burnt becomes a shadow that keeps in itself the marks and the traces of the extinguished fire. 

Conceived by the artist Claire Fontaine as the trace of an action that we witness in the aftermath, as a sign of a tragedy that we perceived too late. This work whose form is at the same time a painting (made by the fire), a sculpture (of the remanence of the matches) and a video (showing the action of the burning in the space), acts as a strong disturbance of the white cube: its pungent smell invades the space and incongruously brings a sense of danger and precariousness to the visitors.

Fab Lab Plymouth were commissioned by We The People Are The Work producer Vickie Fear to help create a large map of the UK, that would span four 8ft x 4ft flameproof MDF sheets, with 58,000 individual holes to hold matchsticks. During the private view of the exhibition, these matches would all be lit.

58,000 match sized holes was no problem for our large 8ft x 4ft CNC router, so we set to work preparing the cutting file and started machining. Check out the below images showing the map after being lit, with burnt areas and smoke marks filling the gallery walls.


'We The People Are The Work' was envisioned to be:

"A poetic and emotional exploration of our feelings during unstable and trying times, it suggests that the events unfolding across the planet are the cause of the climate change inside our souls."

We The People Are The Work was presented by PVAPG (Plymouth Visual Art Programming Group), a partnership between The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, KARST, Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, Plymouth Arts Centre and The Box, Plymouth

We The People Are The Work was part of Horizon, a collaborative two year programme of visual contemporary arts, funded through Arts Council England's Ambition for Excellence fund and led by Plymouth Culture.

To find out more about We The People Are The Work, visit their website here, and get in touch with us via to discuss any large scale CNC machining jobs you or your business may have in mind. 


Fab Lab Plymouth at the Tate

Fab Lab Plymouth’s contributed to the Factory Settings Tate Exchange event by working with PCA artists to create installations and artworks to respond to artist Clare Twomey’s theme of production.

With a pallet of corrugated card and a laser cutter, we set to, to design and create spaces and installations to house the artists work. Various structures and pieces of temporary furniture were created, most in the wonderful medium of corrugated card!

18 Express Yourself Day2 Website
15 Worker Playing Day1 Website
16 Booth Selfie Day1 Website

A group of pre-degree students worked with the Product Design tutors to design and create a conveyor belt, turning babies into tin cans. Produced on the Fab Lab’s CNC router.

9 Kid Engagement1 Day2 Website

Henrietta Pane’s Tea Enclosure gave visitors the opportunity to reflect on their experiences of the exhibition whilst enjoying a nice cup to tea.

16 Man Tea Day2 Website

Are you a local artist looking incorporate digital manufacturing processes into your practice, or are you just interested to learn more about Fab Lab processes? If so give the Fab Lab a ring, or drop us an email. We are always keen to work with artists.

Click here for Fab Lab Membership details

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Fun Running with Routed Reindeer

The Fab Lab with Peter Heywood designed and CNC machined Santa's reindeer for the Looe Pioneers Christmas Fun Run.

Peter Heywood, a BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts student from Plymouth College of Art, helped the running club Looe Pioneers to bring Santa Claus and his reindeer-driven sleigh into Looe this year, as part of the city’s Santa Fun Run.

The reindeer were initially designed by Peter in Fab Lab Plymouth, using the 3D CAD software, Rhino 5. To test the design, he first used the Fab Lab’s laser cutter to make a 1/10 scale model from mounting board.

When the scale model was successful, Peter used the Fab Lab CNC router to cut the slot models at full size in plywood. These reindeer, when assembled, were connected using metalwork made with the large scale metal equipment in our Craft, Design & Fabrication workshops.

Looe Pioneers 1

In addition to the full-sized assembled reindeer, the Fab Lab produced laser cut 60 kits of the miniature reindeer on mountboard, to give out to the first children who completed the Santa Fun Run.

Looe Pioneers 3

Photos by Neil Richardson.

Find out more about the resources at Fab Lab Plymouth

Interested in learning a new skill at Fab Lab Plymouth? Check out our selection of Short Courses, starting in January 2018 (URL: