Tune in… to the hidden sounds of a secret world

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Tune in… to the hidden sounds of a secret world


Soundart & Devon Guild launch the Radio Craftperson’s Toolbox

Have you ever looked at a beautiful, handmade object and wondered what it was like to be there when it was created? A new project by sound artists and artisans brings the authentic noise of the workshop into your home.

The clangs, clinks and whirrs of the craftmaker’s world will be broadcast to radio listeners over a 24 hour period on the 3 August. The ‘Radio Craftperson’s Toolbox’ – a collection of sounds for sampling and radio production, is published online this summer.










The producers at Totnes based Soundart Radio (102.5fm), wanted to get behind the scenes at a different type of studio, to record the tools, textures and talking of real craftspeople at work.  An opportunity arose with the Community Media Association’s ‘Modulate’ project, which commissions community radio stations to work with arts organisations. According to Tamar Millen at the CMA, “Our aim is to encourage bold formats in community media that engage, surprise and excite an audience.”

Soundart Radio leapt at the chance to team up with the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey, who helped them handpick a group of West Country makers who would be happy to open their doors and reveal what goes on inside their studios. The Guild put them in touch with people working in crafts as diverse as felting, woodturning and litho printing.

The Soundartists were amazed at what they heard when they visited these local studios – the repetitive turning of a traditional printing machine, the flare of the potter’s kiln being lit, the rasping sound of fibres being pulled apart and the woodturner sharpening his tools. These unique and unusual sounds been captured for the first time to create a ‘Radio Craftperson’s Toolbox’ – a collection of sounds to use in radio production and for artists and others to sample.

Many of the Devon Guild’s members use traditional tools often unchanged for centuries, such as the potter’s wheel or the woodturner’s lathe.  So the artists are also heard talking in detail about the tools they use, how they’re selected and what it’s like to use them. These valuable testimonies have now been recorded to create an archive for all.

Erica Steer, executive director of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen says, “Listeners will get a remarkable insight into the world of the maker and the knowledge, skill and dedication it takes to create beautiful hand-made objects.”

All the sounds and stories will be available as an audio ‘toolbox’ for everyone to enjoy. The producers have decided to make the whole collection available online under a creative commons licence, so anyone can download the sounds and use them.  The sounds have been professionally edited into samples – creating a digital drumkit and loops of abstract sound as well as spoken word recordings.

The toolbox will be published this summer on a national online media arts library and will provide a valuable resource – not only for other broadcasters, historians, students and archivists – but people working in theatre, filmmakers, performers, music producers, sound artists and composers.

The first chance to hear the results will be a 24-hour long ambient broadcast on Soundart Radio on 102.5fm and online at www.soundartradio.org.uk, on 3 August, which listeners can dip in and out of throughout the day. Soundart’s artistic director Lucinda Guy says: “Community radio is a different way of experiencing art, outside a traditional gallery. Instead, just switch on your radio and listen in to the art happening all around you, at home, in the car or wherever you are. This Toolbox is a brilliant way of preserving Devon’s heritage but also freeing it up for reinvention, as the recordings can be twisted, turned and woven into playful forms for the future.”

This post is from the arts.community.media website.

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