• Jo Armstrong

Stewbot - Leigh-on-Sea's No Ordinary Robot

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

Stewbot is no ordinary robot – he is a piece of art! Lovingly hand-made from wood by Leigh-on-Sea maker Stewart Sutters, each model is unique and packaged with the utmost thought to ensure he raises a smile from his new family. Only one year old, he has already gained attention from the BBC and is on his way to becoming a coveted collectible.

Stewart is a graphic designer but has ”always had a massive passion for (woodwork) and fascinated by looking at the wood’s patterns and shapes”. Last year, he produced his first wooden robot as a present for his grandson, who loved it. After making a few modified versions, friends had the same reaction – “people loved it,” he says. “They thought he was a really cool character and I fell in love with him myself”. Stewbot was born!

Even the BBC approves - two customised versions created for Stewart's own private collection dedicated to Captain Sir Tom Moore and Winston Churchill, caught the attention of BBC East on VE Day and were featured on their website. Another private collection model, ‘DarthBot’, went viral!

Made out of an array of woods including walnut, teak and beech, Stewart has also had chunks of extraordinary types sent to him by fellow wood-enthusiasts. Consequently, Stewbots have been made out of the bright orange / pink wood of a Sequoia Giant Redwood Tree and the FSC approved recycled teak of an old collapsed Burmese temple. All materials are responsibly sourced as much as possible and off-cuts are used where possible.

A fascinating record of how the making process has evolved is documented on Stewbot’s Instagram page, charting an experimentation with products, methods and finishes. Now officially trademarked, each model has a unique number stamp and comes with an authentication certificate and presentation plinth.. The purchaser is also requested to provide a name ending in ‘Bot’ when ordering. Stewart explains, “I like to think that when people buy them they are more kind of adopting it”. Indeed, each one is sent an e-card on their birthday by their creator!

A range of models are available to buy on Stewbot’s new website – www.stewbot.co.uk. Commissions are welcomed - whether that be a personalised stainless steel initial or a bespoke brief. The most recent of these is the extraordinarily intricate ‘PunkBot’. Stewart explains, “the brief was to build a punk rock Stewbot, which had to have a particular Clash tee-shirt and headphones as it was to sit in their recording studio ... and plenty of attitude”. With its studded leather belt, chains and cigarette, it definitely fits the bill!

It is clear that Stewbot is made to be a collector's piece rather than a toy. “It is all made by hand”, confirms Stewart, “and I like to see it as a piece of original art, as do my customers”.

To find out more about the unique character of Stewbot, check him out on Instagram, Facebook and his website.


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