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Introducing Tubby the Bathtub Vat

Mould and Deckle with plant fibre for papermaking

Mould and Deckle with plant fibre for papermaking

Meet Tubby

In 2018, I was Artist-in-Residence at Curtin Springs Cattle Station where they have the most amazing papermaking facility in an old abattoir.  Being on a remote cattle property they have repurposed old things to make new things.  And so they had a large vat made from an old bathtub, shown in the photo below.

A bathtub vat allows multiple people to work on pulling sheets from the same fibre slurry, plenty of depth and space for larger mould & deckles, and allows a perfect working height.  No more lugging heavy vats around.

And so I had to have one for my new studio!

The old bathtub converted to a paper pulp vat at Curtin Springs Cattle Station

The old bathtub converted to a paper pulp vat at Curtin Springs Cattle Station

Step 1 – Find a bathtub. Online marketplaces are a great place for the gathering of unwanted objects.

Step 2 – Construct and weld a steel frame, it has to be strong to support a bathtub full of water.

Step 3 – Add castors to move it around the studio when in use.

Sandra resting in bathtub vat

Here I am testing out the luxury of Tubby, without the bubbles and cocktail in hand

The naming event

Every large piece of equipment in the studio deserves a name, including beautiful bathtub vats.

And in the name of creativity, I opened up the ‘naming rights’ to my friends and followers on Instagram and Facebook.   I had some very interesting suggestions (‘To the Vat Cave’, ‘Petunia the Pulp Pool’, and ‘Squishy’ amongst many).  I put a list of suggestions to the vote at the studio launch weekend.

The votes were tied on three names.  And so the bathtub vat has been named ‘Tubby Eric Bath-olomew’.  Such a distinguished and elegant name for a homemade steel construction, sure to be admired and well used for years to come.  Thanks to all of those who participated in this auspicious naming event, though I’m still not sure where the inspiration for ‘Eric’ came from….

Next time you’re in the Studio say hello to Tubby Eric Bath-olomew and if you’re lucky Tubby might let you dip your hands in!

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Glad to meet you Tubby ,love your frame and wheels .I see lots of people playing with you in the future😁

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