The Machinist Sculptor

In the heart of Baltimore, amidst the hum of machinery, resides an artist whose work blurs the lines between art, craft, and industrial precision. Meet Chris Bathgate, a self-trained machinist whose sculptures are as much a testament to his ingenuity as they are to his artistic vision.


For over two decades, Bathgate has delved into the world of machining, utilizing both handmade tools and automated CNC (computer numerical control) milling and drilling machines to craft his intricate sculptures. But for Bathgate, machining isn’t just a means to an end – it is his method of artistic expression.

What sets Bathgate apart is his formalist approach to precision machining. His entire body of work serves as an ongoing investigation into the concept, where each piece informs the next in a continuous cycle of ideation, problem-solving, fabrication, analysis, and revision. His aesthetic considerations are deeply intertwined with the very machines he employs, leading to a symbiotic relationship where the machinery itself evolves alongside his sculptures.


Playing with the tension between aesthetic and utility, form and function, industrial and handmade, Bathgate’s interdisciplinary work challenges traditional categorizations. His sculptures are meticulously engineered, with every detail methodically designed from the ground up. Yet, they transcend mere technical prowess, evoking a sense of creative logic and ambiguity that captivates viewers.

In his book “The Machinist Sculptor: Industry Meets Craft,” Bathgate explores the history of machine work and its evolving status as a fine art craft. Through his pioneering sculpture practice, he offers a contemporary reflection on the modern state of craft, challenging technological dogmas that emerged during the studio craft movements of the 20th century.

Bathgate’s work serves as a bridge between art, craft, and industrial production in the Digital Age. His sculptures are not just objects of beauty but also reminders of the boundless possibilities that emerge when creativity intersects with technical mastery. In a world where machines often seem to dominate, Bathgate reminds us that it is the human touch that imbues objects with soul.


Dive Deeper:

Chris’ Website:

Follow Chris on: Instagram | Blogspot | Twitter/X

Catch his TALK at Maker Faire Miami on Saturday, April 13th at 2PM


Chris Bathgate – Process Film from Nick Kennedy on Vimeo.

%d bloggers like this: