Sainte-Croix: l’Atelier de mécanique ancienne du Dr Wyss

Here is a machine that was used to make music boxes:

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The machine is about 100 years old. It still works. It sits with its colleagues and companion machines in the workshop of Dr Wyss, in Sainte-Croix. Dr Wyss collected the ancient machines, as the music box industry declined in the region. They are now looked after in a dim and oily machine shop, in a semi-basement of an unremarkable building. Mr Théodore Hatt is their carer, curator and operator. I had the great privilege of spending some time in the workshop, quietly drawing, while Mr Hatt showed the collection to a visiting engineer from Germany.

The machines operate from huge and very dangerous-looking belts in the ceiling. At a certain point in his presentation, Mr Hatt sets all these belts in motion. They create a gentle rhythmic noise, rumbling down the length of the workshop. He connects different machines, driven by the belts. Each machine changes the noise slightly. His explanations, in German, come to me in harmony with the machine beats.

I drew the electroplating machine, and the drill:

Here are some work-in-progress photos, and a close-up of the cogwheel in the first picture:

 

On the way home, in Geneva airport, I drew the view:

“Amidst runway fog
a hawk circles and plummets.
The crows are annoyed.”

 

Urban Haiku

This little landscape book arrived. It arrived with a suggestion that it be used for poems or haiku, with illustrations.

The book is a gift from my Japanese friend and mentor, whose work can be seen on Instagram here. It is bound by hand, and contains very thin, fine paper, in a concertina, a zig-zag. In an attempt to honour the generous gift and the inspiration, I made some urban haiku, about September in London. Here they are.

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My idea was to observe the following constraints. As I have said elsewhere on this blog, I am someone who finds constraints useful. Here’s the form I tried to follow:

  • 5-7-5 syllables
  • some, may be oblique, reference to the season
  • in the present tense
  • nature is in there