Farewell to Custom House

After almost two wonderful years we’re sad to announce that the Tinderbox Lab has moved out of Custom House and our lovely shared studio with our great pals Mettje Hunneman from Video Lab and Tim, Dan and Leon from S!nk and Pianodrome. Sharing the studio with such an amazing group of creatives has led to so many electronic explorations, musical performances and projected installations, not to mention amusing conversations (and plenty of coffee)!

The Tinderbox Lab and this shared studio was the first step in creating a physical space for our Digital Arts programme, and we began our journey way back in November 2018 while developing the second Room to Play course with sonic artist Yann Seznec.  This project brought a brilliant mix of young artists and creative technologists together to design and build playful and unique interactive sculptures and installations. Many of the Room to Play artists continued to work with the Tinderbox Lab too, and together the team have exhibited the installations they designed at various venues and events including the V&A Dundee, Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA) conference in London, and the Edinburgh Festival of Sound.

Over the next two years the Lab started to become a regular space for artists interested in any form of electronic or digital technique to drop-by, hang out, and build something new and interesting.  We ran weekly open-studio sessions, hosted two artist residencies and launched an exciting programme of creative technology workshops & talks, that brought leading artists from across the country to share their knowledge on various areas like modular synthesis, mechanical techno, live coding, visual programming, and toy-hacking. Speakers included the amazing Graham Dunning, Jen Sykes, Tom Mudd, PatchEd and more. 

The next step for the lab was to develop our Youth & Community programme, and having a space like the studio to explore this properly was invaluable. We planned and delivered electronics & synth workshops for children & young people around Edinburgh and beyond, creating a number of booklets and workshop guides, and establishing a great team of apprentice artists from different disciplines to further explore and develop these workshops.

Just before Covid hit we were getting ready to launch a new programme of talks, youth & community workshops, and a collaborative sculpture project. We are very much intending to revisit these ideas and projects (and more) whenever we can safely.  For now, we have been keeping the community together online, through various workshops, game-jams and online courses.

And while we are sad to move out of Custom House, we are equally excited that the Tinderbox Lab will be moving to the Shed at North Edinburgh Arts for the time being, where we are setting up camp alongside some great artists and community projects in the area. 

The most heartfelt thanks to Meaghan, Fiona, Una and the Custom House team for all their support; to our studiomates Mettje, Tim, Dan, Leon and Yann; and to all our studio pals who visited the Lab and got stuck in (and brought snacks)! We’re going to miss the community at Custom House, but we’re looking forward to the next step in our journey, so stay in touch and keep your eyes peeled!

Luci, Martin & the Tinderbox team