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©Clare Pattinson
©Clare Pattinson

Clare Pattinson

  • Automaton builder
  • Mayenne, France
  • Rising Star
Clare Pattinson Automaton builder
By appointment only
+33 629512397
©Polly High

The marriage of art and mechanics

  • • Clare is a self-taught automata builder
  • • Her creations have a social commentary to them
  • • She splits her time between Wales, England and France

Clare Pattinson discovered automata building in 2010 while visiting an artist’s open studio event. Having previously studied ceramics, animation, humanities and plumbing, her fascination for a craft combining all sorts of skills was evident for someone with such various interests. She started with basic mechanisms and hasn’t stopped! She improves and complexifyies her pieces as she goes along. Her work has a strong element of social and political satire attached to it as a reminder of her years working with socially vulnerable people. Describing herself as “a little nomadic”, Clare shares her time between Wales, England and France; her camper van-turned-mobile workshop together with her studio in France give her the possibility to create as she goes, wherever that may be.

Read the full interview


  • ©Dik Ng
  • ©Dik Ng
  • ©Clare Pattinson
  • ©Clare Pattinson
Photo: ©Dik Ng
The Limitation of Imitation

In the UK there are musicians that impersonate the original artists, known as tribute bands. The Limitation of Imitation by Clare Pattinson demonstrates that the original act usually remains the best, as the Elvis impersonator writhes and wriggles his hips and sings into the microphone, whilst his ginger sideburns show under his dark wig.

Length 21 cm
Width 20 cm
Height 55 cm

Photo: ©Dik Ng
Birthing Bot

Pattinson made a series of robots from the discarded spindles of an old staircase. Based on Sophia – the humanoid robot created in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics in 2016 – she ran a survey asking people what tasks they would program a personal robot to perform for them. What if a robot could give birth for you, or take your painful death in your place? Would that be progress, or terrifyingly weird and dangerous?

Length 27 cm
Width 17 cm
Height 35 cm

Photo: ©Clare Pattinson
I’ve started so I’ll finish

This piece by Pattinson depicts David Armstrong Jones, Second Earl of Snowdon, bespoke furniture maker, answering questions in the famous long running British quiz show, ‘Mastermind’, whereby contestants sit in the eminent chair and are interrogated for two minutes on a subject of their choice. The piece was made for a fundraising event for QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust) at the V&A Museum in London.

Length 24 cm
Width 9 cm
Height 37 cm

Photo: ©Clare Pattinson
Majors and Minors

A topiary themed piece for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s QEST fundraising event. The character was a neighbour from Pattinson’s childhood – an elderly Sergeant Major who planted conifers in a tidy sequence around the perimeter of his garden. The plants jump and twitch as the Sergeant salutes and barks out his orders in a military drill.

Length 30 cm
Width 14 cm
Height 38 cm

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