paul dodgson

sculpture, drawing, video art, experimental music

Making Puppets

Here is a short video showing puppets being made in the studio.

Making “The Analyst” ceramic sculpture

A short video showing the process of making a ceramic sculpture called “The Analyst”

Wooden animals

For Christmas, I made some wooden animals using a wood-turning lathe. Great fun. Here’s how.

I used some well seasoned fruit wood (damson) sawn into lathe blanks.

Here is the blank mounted on the lathe ready for turning.

The operator at the lathe.

Marking out.

Taking shape.

Finished shapes on a spindle ready for the next stage.

Shaping the mouse ears on a belt sander.

Cutting mouse ears.

Cutting animal bodies from the spindle.


Carving dog’s face.

Shaping mouse’s tail with a spokeshave.

Shaping cat’s ear.

Attaching cat’s leg.

Carving mouse’s face.

Mice (unpainted)



Finished animals.



The Singing Machine

Documenting the building and installation of an interactive sound generating artwork at SLOE Gallery in Manchester. UK.

The Proposal

All of us danced and drew and sang as children. Doing these things is natural to humans. When and why did we stop? Who told us we couldn’t draw, were tone deaf and had two left feet?

The Singing Machine helps people to rediscover the delight in making noise with their voices.

The Singing Machine is an interactive audio artwork where the public are intended to take part as either “Singers” or “Players”.


The “Singers” enter the booth and are invited to put on headphones and sing what they hear. The source of the sound in the headphones comes from a simple sound generator. The “Player” is outside the booth and plays the Singing Machine by turning two pitch and volume knobs on the sound generator.

For extra visual effect, a trace of the sound generator output and the sound of the “Singers” are displayed on a small oscilloscope screen inside the booth. I propose showing this screen on a TV monitor outside the booth via a small camera.

The sound of the “Singers” will be broadcast outside the booth via microphone and speakers (with a bit of reverb added to make it sound good)

The Venue


Measuring up venue

Sketch for design


Construction begins




Paint Job

Paint looks amazing in the can. Shame to stir it up!




Doors and windows fitted


Designing the electronics



Anti-logarithmic voltage control

Making the electronic bits


Testing electronics



Box for console


Sketches and CAD design for console control knobs


Complete control panel


Installing on site


Installation complete


In action!




Working in copper

Making a copper object

Annealing bits of copper prior to cold forging.


Working on the floor.


Cube of steel as an anvil.


Parts laid out ready for riveting together.


Drilling holes for rivets


Heating in DIY hearth made from bits of firebrick.




Copper object





I feel real amongst hills and mountains. Aeonic, impenetrable, they are themselves and I am myself.


Maam Cross, Connemara. Oil on gessoed board


Maam Cross, Connemara. Oil on gessoed board


Near Leanaun, Connemara. Oil on gessoed board


Near Leanaun, Connemara. Oil on gessoed board


Moel Ysgyfarnogod, Gwynedd. Watercolour on paper


Moel Ysgyfarnogod, Gwynedd. Acrylic on paper


Cae Adda, Gwynedd. Acrylic on paper


Binns, Derbyshire. Oil on paper mounted on board

Trouble Brewing

This short film was made in collaboration with Ben Watts and Matthew Bamber


Ben wrote:
“A dockyard worker becomes the unwitting champion of a workers revolt as a ship yard is brought to it’s knees over its foul tasting tea…

A nine minute film of found footage, live action and puppetry to visualize an absurd narrated poem. ‘You write something. I’ll make some puppets. He’ll do the scenery’ – That was all that was said by artist Paul Dodgson to writer Ben Watts and artist Matthew Bamber. The script was handed over to Paul and Matthew without any discussion as to what to do with it, and only seen by the writer on completion. The resulting work sits somewhere between German expressionism and a 1970s British public service broadcast…”

Bio – Ben Watts is a writer of short and feature films based in Manchester.
Matthew Bamber’s practice encompasses video, drawing, sound, sculpture and installation. I have exhibited my work nationally and internationally. Earlier this year he undertook a two month residency at Centrum Aktywności Twórczej, Poland

Since 2012 he has been developing a project using video recordings of windows taken from inside places of cultural interest. Other recent work includes a site responsive video work examining the the role of business spaces in shaping the lives of those that inhabit them through everyday “office politics.”

The Singing Machine

This is a short film that documents the operation of The Singing Machine.

People become part of the machine and sing.

The people in the video are singing what they hear in the headphones.

In the bottom right corner is an dual trace oscilloscope.

The top trace is the sound the people are hearing through the headphones. This sound comes from an audio frequency generator controlled by the operator (out of shot). You cannot hear this sound, only the sound made by the voices.

The bottom trace is the sound picked up by the microphone.

Below is a close up of the oscilloscope with different audio.

The Singing Machine is played on a monitor with headphones at the 3rd Floor Studios and Gallery in Manchester. (Flyer below)

The audio in this version is much higher quality than on Vimeo.



Drawing at Manchester Museum



Earlier this year I was given access to objects from the Zoology collection at Manchester Museum.

Below are a series of watercolours on paper. Paper size 11″ x 15″.




Here are of life-size drawings of specimens from Manchester Museum’s zoological collection.

I chose to draw skulls because they are like natural sculptures. In them, complex forms, hollows, curves, bulbous swellings, plates and ragged cavities flow and change direction from one part to another.

I have foregone traditional use of cross-hatching to show tone and shadow. Instead, using a steel nib dip pen and Chinese ink, I have taken clues from growth rings, pits, dots, edges, lines and squiggles on the skulls and translated them into a type of calligraphy.

By drawing many skulls, it has become apparent to me how topographically similar they are. Although the skulls differ in appearance, the separate parts of different skulls are roughly in the same relative position to each other. This applies whether reptile, bird or mammal and an ear cavity or jawbone in a bird has the same function as that in a baboon.

The drawings are also a meditation on death. I encountered the objects deep in the storerooms of the Museum. I have tried to bring something of these dead animals back to life and light by drawing them.










The archetypal Puritan is an ambivalent figure. They were opposed to superstition and cant and yet could be censorious zealots.  John Milton and Issac Newton were Puritans as was Oliver Cromwell.

Version 2



Ink on paper

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