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Meet The Creator Behind The Innovative Lamp Design Business In Todmorden

Meet The Creator Behind The Innovative Lamp Design Business In Todmorden
March 2024
Reading time 5 Minutes

Meet designer, creator and all-round handyman Dan Morrison

Living North caught up with Dan Morrison, owner and creator of Blott Works, a business dedicated to designs which marry together his love of technology, art and nature.

Having had a varied professional life to say the least, Dan has always enjoyed the connection between the arts and technology. ‘Through my life, I’ve worked with engineering and technology as well as art and craft and design, and I’m usually somewhere in the middle of them. So a lot of my roles have been either working with the creative and the technical team or occupying the ground between them,’ he explains. ‘I’ve always had an interest in those two different ways of looking at things and Blott Works is very much bringing all of that together for me to celebrate engineering from an artistic point of view.’

Although often thought of as very separate and distinctive disciplines, Dan has always appreciated how the two can complement and influence each other. ‘I always felt pretty unusual in the old days, but I think it seems to be becoming more blurred in terms of the boundaries. They’re all very much part of the same thing, whether you’re producing a piece of art or trying to get an engine to run. It’s all basically using imagination, problem solving and trying to visualise where you’re going with it. It’s just different contexts that you’re working within.’

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This understanding of how the arts and technology blend together has coalesced into Blott Works, a design business which creates stunning pieces that bring together Dan’s love of practical technology and breathtaking visuals. ‘I just decided that I wanted to spend the last 10 to 20 years of my working life doing something that was really mine and that I could develop and embrace using my own particular take on life,’ he says. ‘So I set it up to do that really. It’s bringing [together] all the things that I like doing best which is designing things, making things and getting things to work – playing with materials and parts, but also looking at form and the emotional impact of things. Part of my past was being involved in experimental theatre, not Shakespeare theatre, but more visual theatre. So it’s more about the imagery, the atmosphere, the mood. I’ve been a part of the performance and the making of the costumes, sets and also composing the music, so to me it’s all part of the same thing in the sense that you’re trying to create an experience for people that moves them in some way, or changes the way they think about things.’

The pieces themselves, which include clocks, lamps and scent diffusers, are certainly striking, with many appearing to incorporate wildlife and others seemingly taking inspiration from music. Dan, however, likes to leave his work open to interpretation. ‘The musical symbol is from my A Type Balance Lamp which does look like a bass clef, doesn’t it? It wasn’t intentional but that’s kind of what I like with all my work. Although I suppose some of them are quite explicit like the bird lamp, I would rather my things could be interpreted in a number of different ways and people can read what they want into them,’ he says. ‘Most of my work starts with how the user will interact with the piece, and then I work out from there. So that spiral, that bass clef (we call it the golden ratio spiral), is a standard mathematical form seen in nature and I took that as my basis. To me it looks like a bass clef, it also looks like swirling galaxies. I quite like the way they’re all kind of layered in there and people can pick and choose what means the most to them.

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‘With the bird lamp, the duck and the crane and others, I didn’t intend them to be birds at all. I started off with a winding hand and seeing the thing move. The first one I did was the one that curls over on itself, the crane, and the minute you do that movement you think of a bird feeding, like a crane or a heron. So then naturally I just started to work the form into that in an abstract or simplistic way I suppose. I went with the bird theme and that just ran for a few different lamps in a row. It was totally unintentional. I’ve got a fantastic studio surrounded by amazing countryside and I do see the birds every morning but I didn’t set out to do that particularly.’

The scent diffuser is another design of Dan’s which particularly grabs your attention. It perfectly blends the delicacy of a living plant with the strength of Dan’s industrial designs to allow for a breeze to be gently blown through the leaves of the plant. ‘That’s quite a nice one. I’m redeveloping that one at the moment actually, and that for me in a way sums up what I’m trying to do here most of all, because it’s bringing nature and machines together in a way that hopefully, to me anyway, is really beautiful and thought provoking – and also useful. I like my things to be sculptural, functional and playful,’ he explains. ‘I’ve always had plants, indoor plants and obviously I’ve only got to look out the window and see all the plants in the garden and the trees. They’re always doing a little dance and waving at you. The plants indoors are really static, they look very beautiful but they’re very different and they almost look like they’re museum pieces rather than real living things. So I just thought blowing a breeze through them and creating a little bit of wind would bring them to life a little bit more and give them the dynamism that you’d get in the garden.’

‘I like my things to be sculptural, functional and playful’

The reception of Dan’s work is reflective of how much time and care he pours into the projects. ‘People seem to really love the work and it becomes part of their daily lives, almost part of their family quite often because of the nature of the things. It’s the reason you do it in the end, because of that feedback you get from people. I’ve got quite a number of customers now who have a few of my pieces. The balance lamps I tend to post out because they’re a bit lower in price, but all the work before that I would finish it, jump in the car and take it to the customer’s house and then spend most of the day there chatting with them.’

Dan has found that his work resonates with lots of people. ‘I initially assumed it would be something just for me. I set out to make and design things that I like, so I’ve never set out to make things for other people. It’s been a constant source of surprise and delight that others find the same things engaging and beautiful,’ he says. The ability to make some of the lamps move with a handle is a regular source of joy for customers and a great way for Dan to engage with them.

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With the stunning scenery that surrounds his workshop in Todmorden, Dan couldn’t have chosen a more inspiring place to set up shop. ‘I used to spend a lot of time lodging up here when I was working in the area so I really got to love it here and met a lot of people, and it felt like quite a creative place to be. I made a real connection with it,’ he says. ‘I was looking to move out of London and it was either head down south to Brighton or move up here. I just came up here to see some friends while I was thinking about it and they were putting on a big show at the time. I got involved with that and I’ve been here ever since.

‘I’m very settled and I’ll be here forever now. There’s something really special about this area – I mean it’s just amazing isn’t it? You’ve got The Dales and you’ve got the Lake District and we’re surrounded by national parks and beautiful places – and Yorkshire and the North are just amazing.’

To see more of Dan’s work, visit

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