Lee J Rowland. Aircraft fitter/maker of luxury goods
Lee J Rowland was born in Hull in March 1970 to parents hailing from Hull East Yorkshire. With his father a Butcher by trade and his mother a sales rep. Lee grew up in an environment largely influenced by his fathers practical aptitude for mechanical engineering one of many professions his father had the skill to take on.
A studious child with an inquisitive nature, Lee began his creative career when he was enlisted as an apprentice to work with British Aerospace (BAe) at the age of 16. BAe fed his curious nature and gave him an industry leading grounding in the manufacturing world with technology and processes that were state of the art. Absorbing the principals of design and engineering, as well as witnessing industry progression from within, After successfully completing his apprenticeship training he qualified as an aircraft fitter in Sept 1990. Beyond that from 1990 – 1994 Lee was at the forefront of BAe as it paved the way in Military and Civil aircraft development and production, contributing to advances in technology where results are visible the world over.
After almost a decade serving BAe, Lee was unable to ignore the urge and hunger to break the mould and fully realise his imaginations for conceptual design and unorthodox creations. No longer constrained by the dictations of commercial contracts, Lee embarked on a new creative journey parting gratefully from BAe in 1995.
Now, using the highest possible standards of design and manufacturing know how and with over 27 years of advanced manufacturing knowledge he now fabricates his own works which are often created at the very extremes of what is physically possible.
'' I first became involved with BAe at the age of 15 when I spent a week at the company on work experience prior to leaving school. The extensive engineering facilities blew me away, all I had experienced up to this point were the somewhat small scale, primitive tooling and machinery of the school workshop contained in a few hundred sq feet. BAe was colossal by comparison, as it had to be. They were in the business of making aircraft from scratch not schooling students in basic engineering practices. Employing around 4000 people at the time the site catered for every conceivable mechanical engineering necessity and was an instant first choice of career.''
''The first few months of training were probably the most valuable. The apparent mundane, prosaic ritual of filing small matchbox sized pieces of steel perfectly flat and square would become the foundation stone for a huge range of my later work which is easy to take for granted. I was spellbound by the ease with which levels of dimensional precision could be controlled when removing wisps of material from one of the many small steel blocks we used to produce. A few firm strokes of abrasive paper allowed us to remove in increments of 1/100th mm. These blocks would then be fashioned still further into precision tools such G clamps. I remember feeling heartbroken many a time as I measured across these worked faces only to find I had passed the point of no return and removed too much material making the required dimension a mere 1/20 mm to short ! We would measure again and again in the hope we had measured incorrect. But there was no turning back the job would be mercilessly flung into the scrap bin by one of our instructors who had seen it all before.''
Qualifications City and Guilds Mechanical Engineering Pneumatics part 1 and 2. Full apprenticeship with BAe 1986 - 1990
Central Saint Martins – failed MA degree! vacating the course early due to irreconcilable differences with tutors.
A new journey
Rowland Art Engineering launched in Aug 2008.
An impressive portfolio boasts huge diversity from solid gold couture fashion wear to stunning high end furniture finished to such degrees of perfection their presence seems eerily unnatural. Achieving these near perfect surfaces with precision engineering for modern interior applications forms a very significant part of what his work is about. A near obsession with manufacturing processes and the technology that makes it so has given Rowland the ability to create almost anything he can imagine. An avid metal smith who knows no bounds when it comes the control and manipulation of almost any commercially available material, he chooses to combine materials which although maybe very different, are stable enough to be unified and polished so precise seamless boundaries can be achieved with hypnotic results.