Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's exhibition in Spain

Here is a video with a few highlights from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's exhibition at El Parque de Las Ciencias in Granada, Spain -- including work from Russian theater company Sharmanka. I wish I could be there to see it in person!

Here is where you can learn more about the amazing Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.


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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Murophobia (fear of mice) by Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead is one of those automata artists I have admired for a long time. Take a look at this great new piece in which a cat's worst fears come true.

Not only is it wonderfully funny, but it is a great example of how a fairly simple motion --in the hands of a master -- can create a very complex effect.

See more of Keith Newstead's automata at keithnewsteadautomata.com


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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre - Automata Website!

There are many notable figures who helped to bring automata as an art form into the latter part of of the Twentieth Century. Among them are Alexander Calder, Sam Smith, Jean Tinguely, Frank Nelson, and Rodney Peppé, and Falk Keuten.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, its creators, and its artists also deserve very special recognition in defining and popularizing contemporary automata as an art form. They have just launched a redesigned web site that is full of great information, both old and new.

Here is a link to Cabaret Mechanical Theatre's new web site. Enjoy!


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Friday, August 15, 2008

British Wood Automaton Artist Peter Lennertz

Wood Automaton Artist Peter Lennertz
While working in Covent Garden in the late 80's, Peter Lennertz discovered Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. A Plumber by trade, he has always loved woodworking. By the 90's, Lennertz was making humorous wood automata of his own like the one shown above enititled Old man and the sea.

The British Toymakers Guild voted Lennertz toy maker of the year in 2007.

Check out dozens of great automata on Peter Lennertz's web site.

[ Thanks David! ]


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Friday, June 20, 2008

Paper Automaton Kits by Peter Markey

Paper Automaton kits by Peter Markey
Here is a site that sells a line of paper automata kits by the inimitable automaton artist Peter Markey.

Markey is a master of getting great motions from simple mechanisms. These kits highlight his skill in this regard. Here is a chance to make one for yourself!

Visit Optical Toy's site to see their offering of Paper Automata by Peter Markey.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Poisoned Milk - a Classic Paul Spooner Automaton

Here's a great little video of an classic Paul Spooner piece called Poisoned Milk.

The means of animating the tongue is very clever and requires some lateral thinking. See if you can figure it out.

Visit Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and Fourteen Balls Toy Co. to see more Paul Spooner automata.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Video of Swimmer Automaton by 14 Balls Toy Co.



Here's a video of a classic from 14 Balls Toy Company. The piece was designed by Paul Spooner and made by Matt Smith. How to Swim cleverly animates a swimmer whose legs kick, arms rotate, and head turns. Notice that everything on the swimmer moves at the right pace. Brilliant.

Here's the link to the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre page for How to Swim

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Automaton Magic - Lady Changes Dress Instantly

The good folks over at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre were kind enough to alert me to the arrival Pierre Mayer's latest magic-themed automaton: Valerie - The Quick Change Artist.

Here's the shop link to the Valerie Automaton at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online shop.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Miser's Deathbed by Paul Spooner & Matt Smith

Here is a short video clip of The Miser's Deathbed automaton by two of my favorite artists - Paul Spooner and Matt Smith. The video gives you a sense of the humorous scene. Timing is everything!

Visit The Fourteen Balls Toy Company web site to see some great close-up photos of The Miser's Deathbed.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brassy Dragon Automaton by Keith Newstead

Keith Newstead's Brassy Dragon AutomatonTake a look at the beautiful metalwork in Keith Newstead's classic dragon automaton. The piece is available once again at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre online store.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

Automaton of Magician Doing a Levitatation Trick

I adore and admire the work of automata maker Pierre Mayer. Here is one of his recent pieces depicting a magician levitating from his stool. Simply amazing!

From the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre:

Fechner's Levitation on Stool Automata

The latest piece from French magician/automatist Pierre Mayer, this piece is based on the cigar smoking magician Fechner, who levitates above his stool, even more puzzling is that the arms raise during the levitation without any links to the mechanism -- many magicians have already been fooled by this!


Do visit the CMT online shop to see Fechner's Levitation on Stool Automata and MANY superb automata.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre at Kinetica Museum

If you can be or will be in the UK between April 6, 2007 and May 5, 2007 you must visit Kinetica Museum located at Old Spitalfields Market, London.

Kinetica will be hosting
a major retrospective show on Cabaret Mechanical Theatre which includes more than 80 automata and a number of previously unseen works.

The show will feature artists including: Ron Fuller, Arthur Ganson, Tim Hunkin, Will Jackson, Pierre Mayer, Keith Newstead, Paul Spooner, and Carlos Zapata. (Many of my favorite artists are in that list!)

The exhibition will also include a series of talks and hands-on workshops by the founders of CMT and prominent British automata artists. Speakers will include: Tim Hunkin, Sue Jackson, Sarah Alexander, Will Jackson and Paul Spooner.

Learn more at CMT's Mechanical Blog or visit Kinetica Museum's site



Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT) dates back to 1979, when a handful of automaton artists began to work together as an artists collective.

The group, founded in 1983 in Falmouth by Sue Jackson, moved to London’s Covent Garden shortly thereafter, where their collection of automata immediately received both critical and popular acclaim.

They produced a book (shown at left) that teaches about basic mechanics and the construction of automata.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Automaton Kinetic Sculptures by Keith Newstead

Kinetic Sculptures by Keith NewsteadAs you've all probably gathered by now, I'm a fan of all the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre artists. In addition to my fondness for the work of Paul Spooner, I've always like the pieces made by Keith Newstead. In particular, I like the style of his figures, the inventive vehicles, and his skill with the use of brass.

Here's the link to Kieth Newstead's site

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