Space to create
There are five main areas in the workshop: where the globes are made; where they’re painted; where the maps are designed; where the illustrations are drawn; and where the bases are hand-crafted or hand-finished.
The key elements to create a globe are paper, water, glue, inks and watercolours – all stored in the studio. Art supplies come from a nearby shop in Hackney; German-based paint makers Schminke provide the watercolours; whilst the drying racks are hand-crafted.
Most painters sit on one side and move around from time to time. Computers and printers are in one central area where the cartographers usually work. The woodworking, metal finishing and crate-making is all done downstairs.
Each sized globe requires new training. There are some makers who work on just the small globes and others who specialise in the larger ones. It can take years of experience before you can work on a larger globe.
Some painters start off with the smaller globes, doing colour washes; more senior painters dip in to everything or focus on the more complicated globes.
Each globe passes through at least five sets of hands on its way to the customer who commissioned it. Almost everything is done in the studio except for the metal work – the machining of metal and lost-wax casting – but once done, the metal work is hand-finished in the studio.
Each globe is one of a kind, meaning constant dialogue with customers over several months, and each part communicated to the artists directly.
This article was first published in Courier issue 36, August/September 2020. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.