Will Knight and the Watchmaker’s Workspace

Will Knight has contributed two pieces together for the exhibition. He has made interesting use of his background in architecture to create scale elevation drawings of the watchmaker’s station at Paulin’s Glasgow shop. The survey drawing, which was created in the space, is used to construct the final piece, the forensic detail allowing for new perspectives of the space and highlighting not only the artist’s process but also the process of watchmaking. This piece is the very definition of the exhibition, marrying the deconstructed nature of the theme with watchmaking.



Why did you put yourself forward for the open call?

As a Glasgow resident, I have been aware of Paulin for a few years and their emphasis on design and craft, from the watches themselves, but also the fonts, signage, graphics, marketing, packaging and the interiors of the shops. I hope my work shares similar values in its attention to detail and level of thinking behind each decision made. Every designed object starts with drawing, from watches to buildings, and so I felt there was a story to share here. I am also excited by sharing my work in a space of work and trade, subjects which I have recorded before in a series of drawings on newsagents, bakeries and the high street. To make site specific drawings and show them in the same place adds to the narrative.


Tell me about this particular piece.

The piece is a 1:20 scale elevation of the watchmaker’s station at the rear of the Glasgow shop. The drawing seeks to accurately show the nature of the interior, and the forensic detail shows the character of the space, allowing the viewer to engage in the subject matter in a new way. The process involves deconstructing the real physical space and extracting the required data to make the new drawing. The notes from this survey are then used to ‘construct’ the new drawing, where pencil marks out the work, which is then highlighted in pen before being rendered in watercolour.


The watchmaker’s station is where the wall clocks are put together, watches constructed and straps and faces repaired and is the final part of the ‘process’ before the finished product goes to the customer or displays in the shop. As such, it is the catalyst for change, the place where the last actions of the ‘process’ are undertaken and the pieces come together to make a whole. The drawing is like that of an archaeological survey, showing items used by the inhabitants of the space, from the clamp used to hold watches worked on, to the Paulin designed watch strap tools and client notes lining the wall. The human scale of these artefacts shows the nature of the work being by hand and the process of construction and care for the watch being both personal and continuous.


Is this the kind of work you usually do?

It is. The architect Sarah Wigglesworth informs a lot of the way I have developed my ongoing investigations of domestic, commercial and industrial buildings through recording, measuring and drawing by hand. 


I refer to this quote by her quite a lot: ‘To capture something as large as a building on the size of a piece of paper, architects work to a reduced scale, using symbols and codes to represent the world.’ Similarly to her, I aim to ‘use the conventions of architectural drawings to describe space as a lived experience rather than as a static or predictable moment of perfection.’ 



Until recently, my drawings typically captured a complete building or room within. However, recently, I have begun focusing more on moments within a space or individual items of furniture, so in that sense this work takes me in a new direction.

If you are in the Edinburgh area, drop in to see 1:20 Scale Drawing of Watchmakers Workspace and Sketchbook Survey Drawing of Watchmakers Workspace for yourself. 

You can find Will Knight on Instagram at www.instagram.com/willknightdrawings