Making Space:Sensing Place

In October 2009, along with artist Thurle Wright, I was awarded a Making Space:Sensing Place Fellowship; part of the HAT: Here and There International Exchange Programme, managed by A Fine Line:Cultural Practice. The Fellowship includes residencies with Britto Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh, with Arts Reverie in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with The V&A Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London and with The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire. Working and collaborating with artists and craftspeople from the UK, Bangladesh and India, responding to the collections and spaces we encounter and sharing these experiences through a touring exhibition and educational workshops.

This blog, which is still developing and being added to, is a record of my experiences during the MS:SP Fellowship. Steven Follen.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


An area of pavement by the side of the main road in Mirzapur, Ahmedabad is the workspace for a community of metalworkers - the birdcage makers.

Here they make and sell all manner of cages large and small, sometimes with an unnaturally bright and colourful occupant too.
To make the cages lengths of thick gauge galvanised wire are cut and bent on a jig (pins and wooden blocks positioned on a flat plank of timber) to form the verticals of the cage.
One end of the lengths is hooked and threaded through pre drilled holes in a pressed stainless steel dish, the other ends are held together on a small circular ring.
A medium gauge wire is wound around in a continuous spiral and is held in place on the verticles by a fine gauge wire which twists its way along the length of the vertical.

The cage is topped with a spun cone, sometimes combined with a pressed dish. A loop is added to hang the cage.

The tools are minimal; a pair of side cutters and a pair of pliers, hammer and punch.