The houses Bob built: what’s new in art and crafts

Card and model artist Bob Follen in his Todmorden studio
Card and model artist Bob Follen in his Todmorden studio

If you’re looking for a unique memento of your shop, house or business, and all done in an eco-friendly way, then artist Bob Follen may well be your man.

Bob, of Osborne Place, Todmorden, specialises in producing model cards of building sections or frontages, each with brickwork intricately carved and painted, and all using recycled cardboard.

Since moving north from London at the end of last year with his partner Carla Jones, Bob has been working on designs of a range of buildings, including many local ones, which are created from recycled cardboard, creating art from something that would once have been thrown away as waste.

Bob said: “I play drums in aband called Keshco and although we’re still working on tracks things have gone quiet and I decided, as I have a model-making degree from UEA to develop this idea, initially using our moving boxes, making good use of the materials.

“We were tired of London’s pace and wanted to live somewhere like Todmorden where it’s easy to get around. The model-making is really good for me. It teaches me what the buildings’ features are like, a way of learning about the place,” he said.

Making large and half size models, which also include local icons like Stoodley Pike, the models are already proving popular and Bob can carve a bespoke one based on anyone’s home, shop or business - a unique and hand-decorated image.

Expanding his range, Bob is also producing models of album covers, model heads for pencil tops and more.

It is intricate work, soundtracked by Bob’s music collection, with a large panel taking about four hours to complete using scalpels, inks and paints, and you can see how the results turn out by logging on to his Facebook site, - you can also contact him through the site and order through it.

His work has also be seen at Todmorden Tourist Information Centre - he’s also carved a model of the building’s well-known facade - and the Bear Cafe this year, and you can buy some of his work from the former.