Meet Adam Leedham, Workshop Manager at Makerversity
What do you do at Makerversity?
At Makerversity, I manage and run the workshops and the workshop team. I make sure the workshops are running smoothly and members have ease of access, of use and help members make stuff. I usually help advise with things like CAD work, 3D modelling and G-Code.
I’ve also been working with external companies on a variety of exciting partnerships!
What do you do when you’re not working?
I’m a Dad to two boys aged 10 and 12 (at the moment).
I visit art galleries very often.
I read. I always recommend Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, the Wheel of time series, Rivers of London books by Ben Aaronovitch or anything you’d like to read.
What was the best idea you had in 2018?
This is difficult. For making, it’s laminating wood. I would like to submit to the summer exhibition with this!
Professionally, It’s talking to BRM lasers and securing a partnership with them.
Personally, I decided I was going to be more present in a room. I am going to make and do and be present
What are you most excited for in 2019?
I’m most excited (even though it sounds boring) about creating a framework for people to make and do in a safe environment. I’m looking at future proofing the workshops safety protocols so that everyone knows what to expect, how to be safe and that MV can guide people through the workshops safely and easily for any making process whether it be laser projections or laser cutting.
What was your journey to Makerversity?
Circuitous! — I have had many different jobs. I initially started in the creative industry. I was a designer and illustrator at a kids clothing company. I moved from that to do photography. The process interested me but when it came to it, I actually found the reality quite boring. So I changed things and became a freelance designer and working on things like brochures, website design and branding for companies.
When I was 25 I had my first child and decided to start looking for something a bit more stable in terms of income and that’s when I started working in a bank. I became a bank manager very quickly and continued worked as the bank manager for the next 10 years. A few years ago, I started becoming a bit disenfranchised with the capitalist ethos and decided I needed to make a change and to go back to doing something creative and with my hands again which in a roundabout way brought me to Makerversity 2 years ago.
What is your favourite machine at Makerversity right now?
The CNC. Firstly, it’s so good for fabrication and the production of flat pack products where you create a net of shapes that you can then assemble to turn into something – table, desk , display stands etc..
But it’s also so good for the art / design side of things. You can create 3D models and shapes for rapid prototyping. I would like to use it myself to make more sculptural objects.
I really like the project that member Richard Graham from Make-It London is doing right now. He made a really lovely representation of the artwork ‘Three Women’ by Fernand Leger’s using the CNC. He used the CNC in a really creative way to make layers. It’s almost a physical illustration format. Made with Durat which is made from ground down yogurt pots and bottle tops making it 100% sustainable plastic sheets
What is your favourite material at the moment?
I really like hardwood. It’s sad because not enough of it used. I recently created a bowl out of hardwood using the CNC and it was great to work with.
I like it because it’s not a man made product or a composite but it’s still so versatile.
My next personal project is going to be working with different hardwoods and I’m going to uses layers laminated together to create curves and bends out of straight pieces of wood.
What’s the most ambitious or impressive thing you’ve seen made in our workshops?
It’s really hard to pick just one thing!
Most recently, I think it was so impressive for Something and Son to put together their soap sculpture fountain installation for Tate Britain in our workshops. It wasn’t an easy task and they were innovative with their use of the space and making process.
Also, Sandy from Simpson and Sand created a whole range of beautiful furniture in our workshops. He actually exhibited his work at Somerset House!
FeelThree are also super interesting. Mark has created an entire hemispherical VR chair, which responds to movement within games, in our workshops. What he’s done is pretty amazing. It’s a real feat of engineering. His kickstarter was fully funded within hours of him launching it!
What excites you about Makerversity?
When it comes to my colleagues. Everyone is so brilliant at their job. There is such a great cohesion of personalities within the team. It’s like a group of friends who are very professional but get on really well.
When it comes to Makerversity itself, I’m really excited by the massive cross pollination of different disciples. The stuff that’s created here is just amazing and there is such a brilliant atmosphere of making, collaboration and comradery.
Who are your heroes?
My Zoe (Laughlin) is very inspirational. She’s so driven, intelligent and capable. And she’s always doing. She has a degree in performing arts and a PHD in material science which has led her to create the highly respected Institute of Making at UCL and her public engagement has led on to her current TV career. She is someone for me to aspire to be like.
I would also like to be like Patrick Stewart. He has great friends like Ian McKellen and Brian Blessed and is a great guy, he’s has had some brilliant roles in his acting life.
What drives you in your work?
Getting things right. Having a good standard and for people to have a good experience of the workshops. Both with the kit they need and the help that they need.
What has your best day been at Makerversity?
I was really really happy to work with BRM on getting us a better laser cutter.
I really enjoyed reading the members survey and seeing how we were improving the workshops and the direct impact I am having on the spaces.
What would your one piece of advice for a young person who doesn’t have a clear direction be?
The advice I give to my children is: if you work hard, you will achieve it. The true fact is that you will get there. If you just sit and want, it will never happen.
I always say. Don’t worry. Just pick something you like and have a go at pursuing it.
If you can’t find a career in it, do it as a hobby. It may become a career.