Artist Creates Moving Tribute by Hand-Drawing Every Single Item in His Late Grandfather’s Tool Shed

Lee Phillips’ #TheShedProject is more than just a series of illustrations, it’s a way to celebrate the life of a loved one.

U.K. artist Lee Phillips loves drawing tools, especially scissors. An art teacher by day, Phillips has his students practice drawing the school’s various instruments and implements, because, “it’s just really good practice.. drawing skill, geometry, spacial,” he explained to assembled onlookers during a recent ‘Creative Mornings’ presentation. As it turns out, Phillips’ artistic inclination to sketch the sort of things one would find in a workshop is the perfect foundation for his current project: An object by object illustrated catalog of every single thing in his late grandfather’s tool shed.

Phillips believes there are over 100,000 items in his grandfather’s shed, and estimates it will take him around five years to completely identify, and then illustrate, each one. Using the hashtag #TheShedProject, Phillips has been posting his progress across social media, as well as on his personal site.

First, the rules:

In his grandfather’s shed, Phillips has found keys:




And the nuts and bolts of the project—actual nuts and bolts:

Each illustration, like the objects they depict, is entirely unique, hinting at the “life” the item led before settling into Phillips’ grandfather’s shed, and ultimately, into Phillips’ sketchbook:

Here’s Phillips in action, sketching a series of nails:

A video posted by @leejohnphillips on

In late June, Phillips completed the first volume of work for The Shed Project, having illustrated 4,000 separate items. That may seem like a lot, but at the time Phillips estimated he was still significantly less than 10 percent of the way through his grandfather’s total collection. Not that he’s let the scale of the project get the better of him. After wrapping up volume one, Phillips wrote:

I will now raise a glass to my grandfather, it’s such a shame he doesn’t get to see this. I drink to him, I drink to my incredibly supportive family and drink to all the years I still have left of this endeavour.

Tomorrow, I start volume 2.

Cheers, and here’s to much more of this incredible, and touching tribute.

[via the daily dot, all images via Lee Phillips//Instagram]

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