Around a year ago, one of our member’s started making dollhouses using the facilities at Hack Oldham. The art of woodworking and designing, was not something Harry ever found an interest in during his school years, but years on, and Harry’s day-to-day life is filled with sawing, painting, planning and creating!

Harry builds his dollhouses from reclaimed wood. These pieces of wood are offcuts from larger projects that would have otherwise gone to landfill. It also means less trees will be cut down, giving trees more time to grow, and natural resources can be preserved. He uses a range of tools to help him in his work, including band saws, table saws, miter saws, drills and paints. He orders furniture for the insides, glass for windows and doors, and has even started making his own wallpaper.

Harry has finished many dollhouses, and has even had dollhouses donated to him from people who urge him to refurbish them and bring them back to their former glory. His current project is a more challenging one; creating a dollhouse inspired by Japanese houses.

I caught Harry mid-project, with the main pieces assembled and outside painted mahogany. He had recently put the flooring down, using lino-cushioning, donated to him from offcuts. Harry intends to fill the back wall with glass to create a sliding glass door, and print out Japanese drawings he has coloured, to laminate and use as wallpaper. Harry does not expect to be finished with this project until the end of December. It is a time-consuming affair, one in which Harry refuses to rush. He strives for quality, and wants the finished product to be faultless and a project to be proud of.

Speaking to Harry, I can see the love he has for the dollhouses and his excitement for upcoming projects. He told me about the trinket boxes he has made out of lollypop sticks, the cars he has made from the laser cutter, the coasters and place mats he intends to make, and his newest adjustment to the dollhouses; fitting electrical lights to the inside of the houses to give a more homely and lifelike feel.

The run-up to Christmas has made this a very busy time for Harry. He has a number of projects on the go, and more and more people taking an interest and putting in orders. This self-taught skill is admirable, and works to impress even the least creative among us. If you want to find out more about any of the facilities at Hack, learn how to use certain pieces of equipment, or want to talk to Harry about any of his projects, then please come in!