Monday, May 25, 2009

Aquio Nishida cow automaton with sound effect

A few days ago, we featured a nifty cow automaton with an integrated sound effect. Here another by the late Japanese automata maker, Aquio Nishida. This one has an added feature: you can add or remove the sound module at will.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Aquio Nishida, Automata-Artist (1946 - 2009)

Aquio Nishida, Automata-Artist  (1946 - 2009)It is with great sadness that we note the passing earlier this month of one of the world's great makers of contemporary automata -- Aquio Nishida.

Mr. Nishida was an automata designer, author, teacher, and the Director of the Contemporary Toy Museum of Japan.

Sue Jackson, founder of of Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, says that "Aquio was very remarkable, as he not only made automata himself but also wrote his own book on the subject which was translated in 2 languages, and ran his own, very extensive, exhibition. I was honored to receive one of the first toys -- which I still have -- on meeting him for the first time in Japan. Aquio and I exchanged merchandise, his book for our videos and book; The relationship worked well for both of us."

Nishida Horse AutomatonHis automata were notable for their graceful lines, beautiful wooden gears, and their all-wood construction, which included even the linkages, pivots, and fasteners.

Mr. Nishida often incorporated music boxes into his works adding to their already considerable charm. He was particularly adept at creating automata that accurately depicted legged animals in motion.

Automata: Movable IllustrationMr. Nishida was the author of one of the best books on making contemporary automata, entitled Automata: Movable Illustration (Tokyo, Japan: Fujin Seikatsu, 2002). Written in parallel Japanese and English text, the book is part journal, part sketchbook, part do-it-yourself manual. Movable Illustration examines Nishida's process of automata creation and construction. The book manages to offer helpful advice to aspiring makers, while also serving as a portfolio of his beautiful work. The detailed plan drawings and full page color photographs of the Nishida's distinctive automata make this book a delight to peruse.

Here is some video footage of some of Nishida's automata:

He was known to be a generous teacher to those wishing to learn how to make wood automata. He leaves behind a fine legacy of outstanding craftsmanship, playfulness, and artistry. He will be missed by many.

Here is a series of photographs from a Nishida exhibit.

Mr. Nishida's book, Movable Illustration, is imported from Japan and may be ordered from the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online shop.

10 March 2009 Sadly CMT has no books in stock at this moment.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Automata of Dog Based on Aquio Nishida Design

I posted a short while back on one of my favorite automata books -- Automata: Movable Illustration, by Aquio Nishida.

Here is a automaton by Stuart Chalmers of his dog, Bess. Chalmers used principles found in Nishida's book to create the piece. Nishida's own work demonstrates time and again that he excels at representing the motions of four-legged animals such as horses.

[ Thanks Falk! ]

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Movable Illustration - Book by Aquio Nishida

On my list of Essential Automata Books, Movable Illustration by Aqui Nishida is rather hard to get outside of Japan. Cabaret Mechanical Theate's online shop has them back in stock.

From the CMT site:
Specially imported from Japan, this is a delightful book by an automata maker and director of the Contemporary Toy museum of Japan. Plenty of drawings and photographs, text is in Japanese, with only partial English translations. However, it still of great interest to the automata enthusiast, and contains many examples of Mr. Nishida's work along with his ideas and tips and plans for making automata.

Here's the link to order the book Movable Illustration by Aquio Nishida.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Automaton Video: Artist Aquio Nishida's Automata

Here is a great collection of video clips of automata created by Aquio Nishida.

I included his book, Automata: Movable Illustration, in my list of essential automata books for The Athanasius Kircher Society.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

The Hungry Vampire by Aquio Nishida

Aquio Nishida is an automata maker from Japan with a wonderful style. One of the remarkable things about his work is that almost every part is made from wood, including such things as axles, chains, and fasteners.

In the spirit of upcoming Halloween holiday, I wanted to showcase a Nishida automaton entitled The Hungry Vampire.

The sequence of action for this piece is described in his book: when the handle is turned the Vampire works the pedals of his robot bat. The bat opens his mouth and flaps his wings. Finally, the vampire brings his glass of red wine to his mouth to hold him over until he finds some blood to drink.

You can order Aquio Nishida's book Automata: Movable Illustration from Amazon's Japanese site.

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