Creative Hangouts 01 - Rory McDougall

Hey there this year is going so fast I forget what month we are in. Had some amazing and new experiences over these past couple of months and met some wonderful people. I feel very lucky to have photography in my life.

This will be a long blog post so I hope you have a cuppa handy :)

My mind has been swirling with so many different projects that I couldn't start a single one until now. I had a great chat and mentoring sessions with a wonderful friend named Mijo a fellow creative helping other creatives in Melbourne. We chatted about where I'm heading and what I could be doing to help that. Please check out Mijo's work with other Creatives it's very eyeopening and hands on if you need help in planing and developing as an artist. 

I've always been interested in hearing other creatives talk about their work. Especially talk about how they started and what they are working on, that inspires them and others. Then I realized that I have always wanted to interview these people which has sparked my next Photo series "Creative Hangouts" Yes I'm not the best when it comes to naming projects but I'm super excited even just to interview these creatives. If someone gets some useful information from these interviews, I'm happy.

The Project is about me coming to their creative space or work and sitting down with them for a drink and chat about how they started and what they are working on now.  I will record this conversation too. Afterwards we will make some nice portraits together and I will document what they do. About week or 2  later I will post the interview up on my blog here for anyone to read and possibly hear if I can get the audio to work ;) Otherwise it will be text only.

I will try to keep the intro to a small sentence as during the conversation they will talk about who they are, and what they do too.


My 1st Artist I have interviewed for Creative Hangouts is Rory McDougall. He has started building a Tiny House!

I hope you enjoy the interview. (The audio wasn't the best so I opted for text only)




Creative 01 - Rory McDougall - Tiny House 100% recycled/ reclaimed materials


Thanks for being part of the series Creative Hangouts Rory

No worries It's my pleasure


Tell me who you are and what you're doing at the moment?

My names Rory McDougall and I've started building a tiny house. All of my time and energy is going into building the tiny house which is awesome for me as I'm fascinated with tiny houses and portable tiny houses on wheels.


That's so cool. So when did you start to build the house and what Inspired you to create it?

I started building it in February this year and inspiration came from all over the internet. I guess that's where I discovered the tiny house movement and I saw how far It's come along in the US and the awesome things they are building over there.

There are so many people that are interested in building a tiny house here and they keep planning and designing but never actually start building the house. They keep going around in circles and they never actually start their build.

I did it the other way around. I just grabbed the trailer and got into it. I started to knock up a loose sketch of the design and because I'm building the house from 100% recycled and reclaimed material with a $0 budget. I guess that I don't have to make those agonizing decisions on what material to use for this or what colour that is going to be etc. I can just jump in and build. The design is very flexible too because it depends what material I can get my hands on. If I had something in mind for one wall, then I get a different kind of window for that, I will have to change the design a bit to make it fit.


Have you always had a creative background?

Yes. I guess most of my creativity has been around music and art. I have been a Digital Artist ever since I discovered Photoshop about 15-20  years ago. Before that It was all pen and ink. I still manage to put pen to paper occasionally. I can still draw but it was all just doodles like half finished things. It was the same with my music. It's very rare that artists actually finish things. I just have scraps of demos and half done riffs floating around. Occasionally they get put together with other things and they become something bigger. It's rare that you actually get to a state where your happy and you say "ok this is actually finished" and I can put it out into the world.



What was the response when you told people what you are building?

I've had an overwhelming amount of positive response from the community. Because I put myself out there when I started this build to ask for materials to get things rolling. So I put an ad up on gumtree and I started a facebook page and since then, everyone has been so encouraging and supportive and helpful. I guess It's because anyone that hasn't discovered tiny houses yet, when they do and realise it's a thing, they go "wow this is an awesome thing!"

So when I explain it to someone that hasn't heard of it, they are a bit like "what?, what? , I don't quite get it?" and when they see pictures of it, they are like "wow, cool"


Where there any setbacks in the beginning?

It was mostly just having the dream and starting. I found the trailer on eBay, I just bided on it randomly without even thinking and no one else bided on it.


What are your plans with your Tiny House once it's completed?

Well I'm going to build another one, so this is the 1st, like an experimental sandpit for me to just learn on and figure things out and make mistakes and fail. As the saying goes "fail your way to success" By the time I finish that I'll have skills to build another one with more confidence and faster and more efficiently. I'll know things that I didn't know before. Because this one isn't large enough to have all of the features that a typical house would need, like a bathroom.

But the next trailer I buy will be double the size of this one, it will have all of the features and it will be fully self contained and self supporting. We will be going off the grid and it will have the ability to harvest its own water, use solar energy, and have a grey water system. So once I'm in that position I'll have no rent, no mortgage and no bills to pay. The expenses of life that no one questions and they just work and work, without question. We will have that freedom. I'm probably about 3 years away from that but this is the 1st time that I've ever had a plan that goes beyond this weekend.



What have you learnt whilst building the Tiny House?

I guess it's the sense of community, they have been so helpful and kind. There was one guy in particular, he gave me $1000 worth of tools for this project, he was moving house and didn't need the tools anymore so he passed them on to me which was so generous of him. I'm just figuring it out as I go, making mistakes and learning from them. Luckily I've still got all of my fingers, I used to work in a factory that did welding I was only there for about 8 months but I learnt lot's of skills there.

 It was all about metal manipulation, so I was using some very cool toys there. I got heaps of skills out of it but that was like 15 years ago and recently I got my own welder and I was like "yes now I can modify this chasse a little bit"  and my welds were absolutely hideous. I was like "wow I used to get paid to do this? and now I'm shocking". I'm just trying to do what I can with what I've got. Because a lot of the time I'm using the wrong tools because I don't have the right tools, or I'm using the wrong materials because I don't have the right Materials. I mean being that this project has a $0 budget with 100% recycled materials, but I've already blown the budget on bidding on the trailer to start this.

I'm getting by with what I've got. If I need something I'll wait for it or I'll go and find an alternative. Like for example a friend of mine had an old tumble dryer in his backyard. He had dismantled it and taken it apart. I was like "Can I use that piece?" and I just took the outer casing of it and cut it right down the middle to use as wheel arches. The funny thing is that it fits perfectly as if it was designed for that purpose, the dimensions are exact right down to the mm. So little things like that are happening and it's exciting when it does, cause all these random bits of wood and metal that I'm picking up are all fitting together so nicely. It's just working.


Have you had a lot of help from the community and friends and family?

We had a few community build days when we were just starting and the few people that showed up had great skills. In particular we had 2 carpenters turn up to the 1st build day. One of them who was a senior about 60 years old he had so much experience and skills behind him and he just took over as the foreman and started delegating tasks to everyone and getting a team to help build the floor and it happened in 1 day, it was so awesome.

That's the kind of thing when you pull a bunch of random people together and you give them a task to do and all of their strengths come out to help each other.


What are your plans when you complete your 1sttiny house?

Yeah I'm going to take the Tiny House to Burning Seed an Australian equivalent to Burning Man. It's been going for about 6 years or so. There's regional burns happening all over the world all the time. There's one in W.A that's been going for 2 or 3 years called "Blazing Swan" and there's a new one in Queensland that just started this year called "Modifier" there's a kiwi burn as well in New Zealand that's been going for a few years too. The one in N.S.W is the biggest in Australia and it's still in its infancy really. It's quite small, they cap it at about 4,000 people. It's where I've found my people my tribe and the principles around the festival totally agree with me.

 I have a website called "Tinyville" it's the name of our theme camp at Burning Seed. Theme camps are a huge part of the festival at Burning Seed. There's about 50 theme camps and they've all got their own flair, colours, name, logo, and their own crew, like a team. They all group together and build a stage and comfort areas like a bar and lounge. They offer parties, workshops and activities. We are starting a new one called "Tinyville"  which is all about tiny houses. I was hoping to get together the people that have built tiny houses to Burning Seed to create our own little village. Because the Tiny House movement is still quite young, in Australia and Melbourne in particular, it's difficult to wrangle that many people into such an event.

I'm going to bring our tiny house and then I'm going to build another tiny house onsite with some pallets and plywood and make a bar out of it. We have some domes and a couple of tepees and we are going for symmetry. Basically it's going to be an adult playground. The cool thing about this festival is that it's quite temporary. You take all of this stuff into the forest and you build a massive city which you live in for a week and have amazing experiences there, then you just pack it down and take it away and leave the area as if you were never there.

The other principles I'm living by are Permaculture. Living with efficiency, working with nature rather than against it. It's not going to work for everyone as It's just my view. Nature does the work for you and you just harvest.  


What's some advice to give to people if they would like to build their own tiny house?

Just do it, don't plan it anymore. If you are already planning but your procrastinating about it, just dive in and start. Get a trailer and start your build, because once you get that trailer that's where it all starts.


How can people find out more about this Tiny House Project and if they would like to contact you to help out?

Yeah sure I have a facebook page for the Tiny House and word press site for my Theme Camp at Burning Seed .



Thank you so much Rory it's been a pleasure chatting with you about your Tiny House Project.

No worries, thanks Kylie