Designer Interview: Robert Paisley of Chisel & Mouse

Chisel & Mouse make miniature models of the facades of iconic buildings, and below we interview Robert Paisley, one of the brothers that founded the company.

Buckingham Palace Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse
Buckingham Palace Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse

In the run up to the Jubilee, Make it British is endeavouring to prove that you can buy products that celebrate our Queen’s 60 year reign without resorting to tacky stuff made in China. Chisel & Mouse’s architectural model of Buckingham Palace, shown above, is a case in point – it looks right for 2012, but will also continue to appeal long after the Diamond Jubilee is over.

Here Robert Paisley tells us more about the company, and how they make their fantastic models.

Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and why you set up Chisel & Mouse?

Chisel & Mouse is owned and run by two brothers, Gavin and Robert Paisley. We have worked together for a very, very long time. We ran a software development company for 11 years that specialised in websites and back office systems.  A family bereavement caused us to refocus our lives. We wanted to ‘make’ something, something that we were proud of, something that was under our control. We’d had enough of corporate life, selling our labour, lurching from one ‘critical’ project to the next with everything being ‘HIGH PRIORITY!!!!’
We’ve always loved architecture and IT and Gavin has always built models as a hobby. We stumbled across 3D printing when it was in its infancy and were bowled over by this technology and the impact it is going to have on all of our lives. We thought – how can we fulfil our goals by combining our passions and utilising this emerging technology? Chisel & Mouse was born.

We want Chisel & Mouse to bring the appreciation of beautiful buildings into the home, buildings have resonance; they affect and reflect people. Seeing a beautiful building makes us think and makes us happy.

Bodiam Castle Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse
Bodiam Castle Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse

How do you decide which buildings you are going to make models of?

We have a range of 22 models and counting and we’ve chosen these buildings to model because they are beautiful and we love them. We do have an eye on whether they will be popular, but the bottom line is they have to be beautiful.

How are the models made?

Our process runs as follows:

  1. decide on a building (this is the hardest step)
  2. gather photos
  3. create 3D CAD drawings
  4. create a 3D prototype using a 3D printing service from ‘shape ways’
  5. create a plaster prototype based on 3D prototype
  6. fashion the plaster prototype into a master model
  7. create a mould from the master model
  8. cast models

In which part of Britain are you based?

We are both based in Sussex, we’ve lived in the area for 10 years plus; Gavin in East Sussex and myself in West. Our studio is based in East Sussex in a village called Nutley, nestled in the Ashdown Forest.

Hoover Building Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse
Hoover Building Architectural Model By Chisel & Mouse

Why did you decide to manufacture in Britain?

This was never really a question for us, we never thought of manufacturing anywhere else. We want to make our models and we live in Britain.

Who makes your products?

We do and we love it

Where do you source your raw materials from?

Most of our raw materials are sourced from Britain; we use a firm in Scotland for our metal etching and we purchase our plaster etc from Southwest Industrial plaster. We use Shapeways for our 3D printing, who are based in the Netherlands.

2012 is the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics – How will you be celebrating?

Work wise, we have a strong London theme to our catalogue and have recently added Buckingham Palace and Bodiam Castle to get into the Jubilee swing. Personally, both events are opportunities to spend quality time with family and friends, to shout about, support and feel generally proud and warm about being British

 To find out more visit the Chisel & Mouse website

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