Check out this beauty!

I first saw one of Dan Harding’s Hotpods in a gallery in St. Ives. At first glance, I honestly thought it was a sculpture, and spent a while looking at it before the gallery owner came over and told me more. He talked about this interesting man he knew who lived in St Ives, surfed, and made things out of old recycled car parts. This was one of those things.

I love the cheekiness in this little stove. And I don’t know if it’s because I first saw it on a sunny, sandy holiday by the sea, or if it’s because I now know of its history, but the design really makes me feel creative, happy, and warmed by its fiery heart and cheerful wave.

Designed, developed and entirely put together in Dan’s forge in Cornwall, not far from the sea on the edges of St Ives, these meticulously finished stoves have a great little story.

The picture above shows Dan in front of his surf bus, Gregory, in 1992. Running out of head room, he applied an interesting moment of inspiration when he decided to take the top off his van, and weld a big old Beetle roof to it. (I just love this kind of creative lunacy..!)

This wasn’t an idea totally without history however. Blacksmithing runs in Dan’s family – his father, Dan Harding senior, is a blacksmith and farrier in West Cornwall.
Growing up by the surf, as a young man Dan spent his time on land helping out his Dad at the Forge, learning skills, taking things apart and making new experiments out of any odds and ends he found.
Being chilly in the van, he designed and made a little stove, from an old gas bottle, to warm the toes of himself and girlfriend Lucy.
This started the little seed of creativity that began the Hotpod journey.

Gradually, designs developed into various “Prepods” – different evolutions which were slowly refined and improved.

As Dan himself says, “By living with my designs, I know what works.”

The first proper model was made as a Christmas present for Lucy when they bought their first house.

Now made from carefully selected recycled materials, including gas bottles and Volkswagen parts,  these limited edition Hotpods are incredibly labour–intensive to make. I think that you can feel this in their spirit. Each have their own numbered plate, and only 350 will be made.

Hotpod soon became a real viable business, and due to demand, Dan had to come up with a solution to be able to make more. The new Hotpod ‘Unlimited’ was born. Made from hunted and gathered re-melted brake disks, train wheels, park benches, pipes and gratings, engines, railings and more, this is a cast version of the original. Cast at the Thomas Dudley foundry in the Midlands, and hand-finished in Cornwall, it is just as beautiful.

I will always have a soft spot for the first one that I saw however, sitting in the corner of the gallery, quietly owning the room.


You can find out more about Hotpod from their website,