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Think Water Jet Cutting – Think Culture!

When someone in your vicinity says ‘water jet cutting’ (admittedly something which is probably a more regular occurrence for us) what do you think of?

You probably think of functional parts being cut, all very accurate, very practical and very useful but also a bit dull. Not really something to spend too long thinking about.

You might, though, also think of art. You might think of culture. You might imagine some of the great museums of the UK and the world.

And, do you know what. You’d be right!

Water jet cutting machines are increasingly being used to create great art. There are hundreds of artists who have used water jet cutting as a means to making a great sculpture, or a stunning mosaic flooring.

There are also a few great institutions who have at least partially benefited from water jet machines. At TMC Waterjet, we have recently worked with two of them.

Ghost Tree

In Manchester, we worked with Turner Prize nominated Anya Gallacio for an exhibit at the famous Whitworth Art Gallery. In fact, you don’t even have to go in to see how we turned Anya’s vision into reality. Outside the museum there is a ‘ghost tree’, a beautiful artist’s impression of a tree cut out of metal.

Ghost Tree by Anya Gallacio at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

Ghost Tree by Anya Gallacio at Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester

The Ghost Tree fills a space left when a tree died, it has turned a gap into a moment of art, an attention-grabbing piece which gets people talking (and children climbing sometimes) even before they have entered the Whitworth.

And using our water jet cutters to make art is a departure for us, the work was also a departure for Anya, an artist more famous for transient pieces, including painting a gallery in chocolate.

As to how we came to be involved; we believe our reputation as the leading UK water jet cutters made us the natural choice for the museum, as a company based in nearby Macclesfield it was certainly an honour to work with one of the north west’s iconic museums.

The cost effectiveness of water jet cutting was also a key factor, Anya telling the BBC in an interview that she initial doubts as to whether the project would go ahead. However, water jets help keep costs down; they can cut complex parts in one fluid motion and so are far quicker and more efficient than other technologies.

And the results are very attractive too – you can see the Ghost Tree in the small image on this page. Better still, why not head into Manchester city centre and see the Ghost Tree up close just outside the Whitworth Gallery.

The V&A

At the other end of the country, London’s wonderful Victoria and Albert museum to be specific, we made some grating. Not just any old grating, though, grating to run round the outside of the museum, right up to the beautiful porcelain tiles.

The brief for the grating was detailed; we had to produce something that had ventilation for the exhibits below, was strong enough to withstand both the elements and footfall yet also looked great. Something that didn’t look out of keeping given its proximity to great pieces of art.

Water jet cutting was chosen over other technologies – it benefits from cutting without heat and so structural integrity is not compromised, while the ability to cut complex parts in one motion also helps keep costs down and increases reliability.

Unlike the Ghost Tree, the grating perhaps isn’t a reason to go to the V&A itself, well, unless you really like grating. However, it does go right up to one of the outside cafes so you could humour us by having a glance while you sip your Latte.

If you do make a trip to the V&A, do check out the grating. It might not be the main reason for your visit, but please humour us by at least having a quick look!

More than just art

Water jet cutting isn’t just there for installations at leading museums – much as we love getting the call to work on these projects.

There are also the jobs for small businesses, the car and aviation manufacturers, the church who needed a new key cutting (yes, really!).

Whatever your cutting job, please do get in touch with us at TMC Waterjet – we are leading UK water jet cutters, with XD cutting technology meaning we can cut complex, three-dimensional parts.