Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Article on Bay Area kinetic sculptor Nemo Gould

The Daily Californian recently ran a nice article on kinetic sculptor Nemo Gould.

From the article:
Gould's sculptures utilize nearly all "found" articles, synthesizing discarded objects and forgotten antiques with mechanical movement. Bringing art and technology together in whimsical sculptures, Gould pulls from science fiction and comic book mythology from when he was a little boy. For all his professional, eloquent articulation of what his work represents, Nemo Gould is at play in his studio-infusing his anthropomorphic figures with child-like imagination. With sincerity and a smirk, Gould declares, "I take silly very seriously."

Here is a link the full article on Nemo Gould at The Daily Californian.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New encased motorized automata by Tom Haney

Tom Haney's Wanderlust automaton
Here is one of two new pieces available from Tom Haney.

The one shown here, entitled "Wanderlust", depicts a figure standing next to a globe. As the globe turns the man's pointer moves across the surface in search of his next destination. The globe stops at random spots every 5 seconds and the figure's head follows the pointer up and down the globe.

See more pictures and video of Tom Haney's Wanderlust automaton on his web site.


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Friday, April 02, 2010

Lecture: A Brief History of Automata

Lecture: A Brief History of AutomataIf you will be in the NYC area on April 14th, this looks like a fascinating lecture and demonstration...

About this lecture:
"In this illustrated lecture, "Obscura Antique and Oddities", Mike Zohn will demonstrate his 19th Century taxidermy automata, as featured in last year’s Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. He will explain its curious mechanisms, and, in an illustrated lecture, will introduce us to the history of these fascinating uncanny machines, tracing their trajectory from tools of religious coercion to prince’s plaything to Disney’s imagineering experiments."

Lecture: A Brief History of Automata
Lecturer: Mike Zohn, Obscura Antiques and Oddities
Date: Wednesday, April 14th
Time: 7:00 PM
Admission:
$5
Location: Coney Island Museum, 1208 Surf Ave. Brooklyn

Here is a link to more information from the lecture announcement.

[ Thanks Caleb! ]


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Monday, March 08, 2010

Incredible animal sculptures by Ron Pippin

Incredible sculptures by artist Ron Pippin
Take a look at the astounding sculpture by artist Ron Pippin. Shown here is a piece entitled Solar Deer. Below is a detailed photo of the same piece. Wow.

Solar Deer by Ron Pippen
See more sculpture by Ron Pippin on his web site.

[ Thanks Aaron!]


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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homunculus - kinetic sculpture by Nemo Gould


In keeping with one of his favorite themes, here is a new sculpture by Nemo Gould featuring a little figure operating inside a bigger one. This kinetic sculpture incorporates voltage meters, a radio tuner, lamp parts, candlestick parts, table legs, shoe forms, door hardware, wind instruments, trophy figure arms, vacuum tube, a tobacco pipe, thermostat parts, ukulele knobs, velvet, motors, and LEDs. Wow!

See more kinetic sculptures by Nemo Gould on his web site.


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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Automata exhibit at the Miami Science Museum

Automata exhibit at the Miami Science Museum
Head on over to the Cabaret Mechanical blog to get all the details on an exhibit of automata now showing at the Miami Science Museum through to September. The exhibit features automata from Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and from the collection of Dr. Andrew R. Hirschl.

Here's the news of the Miami, Florida automata exhibit at the Cabaret Blog. Here's is info about the show from the Miami Science Museum.

[ Thanks Ellen! ]


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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Automata-maker Dug North and his workshop

Automata-maker Dug North and his workshop
I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse of my workshop and some photos of me in it.

The shots were taken by the talented portrait artist, Adrien Bisson who also resides in Lowell, Massachusetts. The photographs show my workshop, some parts of the wood clock I am making, and a prototype automaton that is in the works. The workshop it is actually built into a century-old walk-in vault.

To see more photographs from this shoot, check out Adrien Bisson's photography blog.

And, as always, thanks for reading The Automata / Automaton Blog!


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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture

Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture The folks at the incredible Cabaret Mechanical Theatre blog have sent word that there is new autoamta exhibit in Madison, WI at the Chazen Museum of Art running from January 16, through March 14, 2010.

From the exhibit press release:
"The Chazen Museum of Art presents the delightful work of fourteen international artists in Automata: Contemporary Mechanical Sculpture. Meticulously crafted to perform complex, surprising, and often comic movements, these mechanical sculptures tell quick fanciful tales of nature, myth and magic, the creative process, and sheer make-believe. More than 25 hand-cranked artist-designed automata, most loaned from the private collection of University of Arizona art professor emeritus Michael Croft, will be on view January 16 through March 14, 2010. Videos will play in the gallery to show the animated workings of the pieces. Museum admission is free."

Here is a link to more information on exhibit on the Chazen Museum web site.

[ Thanks to the Cabaret Mechanical blog! ]


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Friday, January 15, 2010

Arthur Ganson's motorized walking wishbone

Here is a great video of one of my favorite kinetic sculptures by Arthur Ganson. Who knew a wishbone could be so evocative?

See more kinetic sculptures by the amazing Arthur Ganson on his web site.


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Mechanical door knocker interior mechanism



Taylor Shepherd, an artist working out of New Orleans, created this wooden cam-driven machine which rhythmically interrupts the audio circuits on AM an FM and CB radios contained in a box fronted by a two-way mirror and triggered by a motion sensor. The piece is included in an installation by the Society for Decoration and Sacrifice at Barrister's Gallery in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death+Resurrection: In the Chamber of Reflection

Marvel at Thomas Kuntz's self-portrait based on a classic automata motif: the severed and restored head. The entire piece -- including the cams, levers, and actuating devices -- were hand-cut from brass, steel, and wood.

From the video description
This automaton, a nightmarish vision, was inspired in part by the 19th century Phalibois clown automaton. The first version was sold to a private collector and then this 23" tall automaton was made from a completely new set of sculptures with some added features and a completely new mechanical design. It is an auto-biographical self-portrait told through occult allegory and runs for one minute to complete the cycle.

See more amazing art by Thomas Kuntz on his web site.


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sculpture and automata by Kelley C. Jones

Check out the lively colors and distinctive characters created by artist Kelley C. Jones.

From the artist's web site:
"Kelley's 'idea explosion' are intricate, moving sculptures that are inspired by Kelly's life, her passion for making others laugh, and her wicked sense of humor."

See more sculptures and automata by Kelley C. Jones on her web site.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]



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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Maillardet's automaton at Franklin Institute

Maillardet's automaton at the Franklin Institute
I had the chance to visit Philadelphia recently, location of The Franklin Institute whose stated mission is "to inspire an understanding of and passion for science and technology learning." For this visitor, they did just that.

The Institute has several traveling exhibits and at least ten continuing exhibits that fulfill their mission admirably. I was there to see one thing in particular. You see, the Franklin Institute is home to one of the world's great mechanical treasures: The Maillardet Automaton.

The automaton is the centerpiece of the Institute's Amazing Machines exhibit -- and with good reason. Created somewhere between 1800 an 1810, the Automaton has the largest "memory" of any such machine ever created. It is capable of drawing four sketches and writing three poems (two in French and one in English).

To see what I mean, check out this video of the automaton in action.
I was fortunate enough to have been able to see the automaton in operation the day I visited -- a rare event, since it is not demonstrated on a regular basis.

I was greeted by several friendly and helpful museum officials. Most of my time was spent with Charles Penniman -- a long-time researcher, caretaker, and operator of the automaton. Mr. Penniman demonstrated how the machine's two spring-driven motors are wound, the writing instrument calibrated, and the machine set into motion. He answered my questions and pointed out various details of the machine and its sophisticated sequences of action.

Seeing the brass skeletonized figure of a boy spring to life, deftly guiding a writing instrument over a blank sheet of paper to create an intricate sketch or a beautifully penned poem filled me with awe. As someone who appreciates mechanical things, there was no doubt that I was in the presence of greatness.

Below is one of the drawings the automaton creates -- a landscape depicting a Chinese palace.
Drawing by Maillardet's Automaton
To my mind, Maillardet's Automaton has to be one of the most impressive unions of mechanical engineering and artistry that has ever been created.

Beyond its antiquity and complexity, the automaton has a fascinating history. At one point, the automaton verified its own origin when, restored to working order, it signed one of its poems in French with the statement "Written by Maillardet's Automaton" (below).
Maillardet's automaton - signed poem
More recently, this automaton was inspiration for Brian Selznick's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which features an automaton very much like Maillardet's.

Here is a longer video shot in November of 2007, when Brian Selznick visited The Franklin Institute for a signing of his book. Andrew Baron, master mechanician, is man operating the machine in this video.
My sincere thanks goes out to The Franklin Institute and the many people who contributed to the demonstration I was fortunate enough to witness.

While you may not be so lucky as to see the automaton in operation, it is on permanent display and features a great exhibit complete with a wonderful, informative video (not shown here). I am certain that the Amazing Machines exhibit will appeal to readers of The Automata / Automaton Blog, as will the museum as a whole. If you will be anywhere near Philadelphia, I urge you to plan a trip to The Franklin Institute.

You can learn more about Maillardet's writing and drawing automaton at The Franklin Institute's page on Maillardet's Automaton and another page they have with information about the automaton.


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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Strong National Museum of Play - mechanical toys

Strong National Museum of Play - mechanical toys
Click your way over to the Strong National Museum of Play web site for three pages worth of mechanical toy images including banks (like the cast iron magician shown here), wind-up toys, clocks, and automata. The rest of the site is worth checking out too. If you happen to be in the Rochester, New York area...well, lucky you!

Here's the link to the Strong National Museum of Play's mechanical toys section.


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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Musical Machines & Living Dolls exhibit

Musical Machines & Living Dolls exhibit
The Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, is home to a large and impressive collection of automata and mechanical music machines. There is a nice review of the exhibit over at the Curious Expeditions blog.

From the blog post about the museum:

The museum does a nice job displaying these fragile, if eerie, machines. Short films show the more delicate automatons in action and a daily demonstration displays some of the less delicate pieces. Beautiful and strange automatons line the walls behind glass cases, in sumptuous dress, with bright faces. Those that do not fit in the gallery are on display in the basement, a storeroom of lonely un-wound figures behind two panes of glass for curious visitors to peer at.

Read the complete review and check out this flickr set of photos from the Morris Museum.


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brad Litwin: A Collection of Mechanical Conundra

Brad Litwin - A Collection of Mechanical Conundra
Brad Litwin's upcoming show is titled Kinetic works: A Collection of Mechanical Conundra. The exhibit starts early next month in Philadelphia. If you will be in the area, you won't want to miss seeing his amazing mechanical creations in person.

From the exhibit description:
Bradley N.Litwin has created works of kinetic sculpture for nearly thirty years. His work draws on the accumulated and synergistic experiences of having worked in manufacturing, entertainment, and multimedia production, as a designer, engineer, animator, photographer, film-maker, performer, prototype maker, and eternal experimenter.

Kinetic works: A Collection of Mechanical Conundra
Date: October 4 through October 16, 2009
Reception: Saturday, October 10, 6pm -8pm
Location:
Tyler School of Art, Temple University
2001 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 3

You guessed it -- here is the third and final video about the beautiful automata art of Steve Armstrong.

Here is a link to Part 1 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 2 of the video.


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 2

Here is the second of three videos from PBS show focusing on the automata art of Steve Armstrong.

Here is a link to Part 1 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 3 of the video.


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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Automata of Steve Armstrong - Part 1

Enjoy this video -- the first of three -- on the automata art of Steve Armstrong done for a local PBS station.

Here is a link to Part 2 of the video.
Here is a link to Part 3 of the video.


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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Grim Rover by Artist Steve Armstrong

Grim Rover by Artist Steve Armstrong
Take a look at this gorgeous piece of animated wooden sculpture by Steve Armstrong entitled "Grim Rover".

Here's a short article on Steve's process of work.

See more of Steve Armstrong's at the John Pence Gallery.


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Monday, September 07, 2009

Video interview with kinetic artist Stan Bennett

While vacationing in Northern California, artist Aaron Kramer happened into a museum that featured the work of a man named Stan Bennett -- whose studio was on site. After "talking shop" for a while, Aaron recorded this impromptu video interview with Bennett who has been making wire-based kinetic sculptures and rolling-ball tracks for 40 years.

See more kinetic sculptures by Stan Bennett on his web site.

[ Thanks Aaron! ]


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Contraption" automaton by Tom Haney

Enjoy this video of Tom Haney's latest automaton called "Contraption". The end of the video features some cool "in-progress" still photographs.

Check out more of Tom Haney's work on his web site.


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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Assembled Artifacts exhibit at Device Gallery

Assembled Artifacts exhibit at Device Gallery
A show title 'Assembled Artifacts' opens this evening, Saturday July 18 at 6:30 at The Device Gallery located at 1815-B Main Street San Deigo, California.

The show features work by:
Christopher Conte, Stephane Halleux, Michihuro Matsuoka, Jeremy Mayer, Rich Muller, Nemo Gould, Olivier Pauwels, Lewis Tardy and Jud Turner

Here is the link for more information on Assembled Artifacts exhibit.


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Sunday, July 05, 2009

'MAN EATING SHARK' automaton!

Artist Michael Jacobs created this playful automaton using recycled wood and tin, a rebuilt plastic doll's head, copper and steel wire, screws, nuts and bolts, pop-rivets, paper mache, molding paste, and acrylic paints

From the automaton description
When you continuously turn the crank at the lower right, the man uses his arms and hands to raise the shark, his mouth opens hungrily, his legs move up and down and back and forth, and the shark's tail and mouth wriggle up and down furiously.

See many more nice photographs with captions for the Man Eating Shark automaton.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Ellen Rixford mechanical puppets & automata

Ellen Rixford mechanical puppets & automata
Ellen Rixford Studio has been in business for 35 years and specializes in sculpture, art dolls, mechanical puppets, displays, and miniature sets.

In addition to being sought out by corporate and private collectors, some of their large pieces have been acquired by the Doll and Toy Museum of New York City, and the Ballard Institute of Puppetry Museum at the University of Connecticut.

Visit the Ellen Rixford Studio web site to see all of their wonderful creations.


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Tom Haney's long animated automaton clock

Tom Haney's long animate automaton clock
Here is a look at some of the latest work by automata-artist Tom Haney. According to Haney,this commissioned piece is "a site specific work -- a clock that is 74" long by 12" high. The clock face sits in the center flanked by 4 articulated objects including a flying woman that I am most proud of.

You can see several "in progress" photographs and four videos of the clock in action on his web site.


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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

IT MOVED kinetic art exhibition at Device Gallery

IT MOVED kinetic art exhibition at Device Gallery
The Device Gallery's upcoming showed, IT MOVED, is an exploration of the kinetic art form. The show will feature the work of Greg Brotherton, Benjamin Cowden, Tom Haney, Nemo Gould and Reuben Margolin.

Time:
The Opening Reception will be Saturday, April 25th, 2009 from 6:30 - 9:30PM. The show itself will run from April 25 - June 20, 2009.

Location:
Device Gallery
1815 B Main Street
San Diego CA 92113

Visit the Device Gallery web site for more information on this show.


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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

BlueBell Folk Art Gallery featuring wood automata

BlueBell Folk Art Gallery featuring wood automata
Michael and Marlene Forte create one-of-a-kind wood and fabric folk art -- mostly featuring animals -- from their studio in rural Vermont. They also have a few automata on display in their online gallery.

Here is a link to the BlueBell Folk Art Gallery page with wood automata.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monks at Exploratorium make cardboard automata

As part of the Exporatorium's Cardboard Automata activity, a group of monks observed, discussed, and then made their own hand-cranked automata. So cool!

See photographs and read more about the monks' adventures during this workshop on the Learning Studio Blog.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Lauren and Jordan' - automaton by Tom Haney

Another enchanting automaton by artist Tom Haney. This one is powered by the wind-up motor from an old 16mm camera. Great idea! The video shows the finished piece in action and a number of nice "in progress" still photographs of the automaton.

See more of Tom Haney's work on his web site: www.tomhaney.com.


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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chameleon Chronicles automaton by Thomas Kuntz

Another beautiful piece by Thomas Kuntz. The mechanical sophistication, multi-disciplinary artistry, attention to detail, and ability to create a complex, but cohesive whole are all things that make me want to apprentice to this man I consider to be a modern master of a automata.

Thomas Kuntz on 'Chameleon Chronicles':
The piece has 16 different functions and is completely mechanically cam and lever driven with the aid of chains pulleys and linkages,additionally (but not shown ) the dragon smokes with incense which is placed in his body through a door in the back . The piece is about three feet all with figures in roughly 1/9 scale.


See more of Thomas Kuntz's automata at Artomic.com.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Illumination', third recent Automaton by Tom Haney

Illumination Automaton by Tom HaneyHere is the third of the recent motorized automaton by Tom Haney. This one is entitled 'Illumination'. This piece along with the other two -- 'Dubious' and 'Relique' -- will be on display at the Los Angeles Art Show at the LA Convention Center from January 21st to 25th, 2009.

Here's a link to images, movies, and in-progress shots of Illumination by Tom Haney.


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Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Relique' - Motorized automaton by Tom Haney

Another great motorized automaton from Tom Haney -- one of three that will be on display at the Los Angeles Art Show at the LA Convention Center from January 21st to 25th, 2009.

Among many things I like about Tom's work are the cases he builds to hold them. They seem to mesh perfectly with the vintage feel of the characters and subjects -- providing additional context for the entire thing.

Here's a link to images, movies, and in-progress shots of 'Relique' by Tom Haney.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

'Dubious' - Awesome automaton BY Tom Haney

Take a look at the shady character depicted in Tom Haney's new automaton entitled Dubious.

This charming piece and two others (stay tuned to this channel!) will be on display at the Los Angeles Art Show at the LA Convention Center from January 21st to 25th, 2009.

Here's a link to images, movies, and in-progress shots of Dubious by Tom Haney.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dale Mathis solo art show in Las Vegas

Mechanical artist, Dale Mathis, will be showing dynamic art pieces in his first solo show. The show, called "Steam Funk", opens on January 31st, 2009 in Las Vegas.

Details on the Dale Mathis solo show:
Oh, My Godard Gallery
Planet Hollywood Hotel, Las Vegas
Saturday, January 31st from 5-9pm
Free and open to the public

Visit his web site for more about Dale Mathis and his art.


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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gina Kamentsky's 'On the Workbench' Blog

Gina Kamentsky's 'On the Workbench' Blog
Just a few days ago multi-talented artist Gina Kamentsky started a blog entitled 'On the Workbench'.

From her first post:
I've been cranking out some interesting new work in studio and have added some new features to the Mechanical Confections website including On the Workbench, a blog where I'll be updating progress on new kinetic sculpture work as it evolves. In addition, this section will feature updates on gallery shows, new work posted to this site, links to resources and inspiration for mechanized sculpture.

I look forward to following along as she creates her clever creations!

Here's the link to Gina Kamentsky's On the Workbench Blog.


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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Musical Wonder House in Wiscasset, Maine

Musical Wonder House in Wiscasset, Maine
The Musical Wonder House, located in Wiscasset, Maine, is a unique museum featuring more than 5000 restored musical boxes, player grand pianos and organs, spring-wound phonographs, musical birds, porcelains, furniture, clocks, steins, whistlers, a musical painting, and 23 antique coin-operated machines.

The collection is housed in a 32-room mansion dating to 1852. They have an impressive gift shop and -- for the serious collector -- they offer a selection of restored antique musical boxes for sale.

Here is a link to the website of the Musical Wonder House and here is were you can take a virtual tour of the Musical Wonder House.


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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tom Haney automata in New York city - Now!

Automaton artist Tom Haney will have several pieces showing at the Chelsea Market in New York City, starting today -- December 6th through December 23rd, 2008. They will be exhibited by Brian Foster Studio in a show called 'Jingle in Chelsea Market'.

The Chelsea Market is located at 75 9th Ave. between 15th and 16th and will be open everyday from 10:30am - 7:30pm. Learn more at http://chelseamarket.com

If you live in the area or happen to be passing through New York for the holidays, stop by and see some of Tom Haney's amazing creations!


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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vollis Simpson's windmill-powered whirligigs

Some time ago, I posted a YouTube video about Vollis Simpson, a man who has made a park full of windmills and whirligigs. There is a great web site with more about the man behind it all. The site also features a detailed virtual tour of his wind-powered mechanical park.

Here's a link to From Windmills to Whirligigs brought to us by the Science Museum of Minnesota.


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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Theriault's to auction automata on Nov. 23, 2008

Theriaults to auction automata on Nov.  23, 2008
Theriault's will be having a large auction of automata on November 23, 2008. The collection of Jerry and Bunny Steinbaum is to be auctioned. The Steinbaums collected for over 20 years, traveling to France, England, and New York to acquire an amazing collection of very rare and fine automata.

There will be more posts over the next few days about this extraordinary event and the treasures that will be for sale.

Here is a great article that presents an overview of the collection and the event.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pocket watch automaton with flag waving man

Pocket watch automaton with flag waving manThis colorful mechanical pocket watch features a street-level view of the Empire State Building. A man at the base of the building holds an American flag and waves it with the rhythm of the watch. The listing doesn't say much about how old the watch is or its maker, though we do know that it is in working order.

The backplate opens to reveal the mechanical interior of the timepiece.

Here is the eBay listing with more photographs of the Pocket watch automaton with flag waving man


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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Profile of inventor Dean Kamen

Inventor Dean Kamen
I had the great pleasure of seeing Dean Kamen speak in Boston once and got to shake his hand afterward. I let him know that he was on of my heroes in no uncertain terms. He was very gracious.

He is currently working on heat driven Stirling engines (see this model Stirling Engine I posted about not long ago). He's not just working on the engines, but some novel applications for their use. I can't wait to see what he comes up with.

Here's a nice long profile on Dean Kamen, a modern day inventor. Found via BoingBoing.net's coverage today.


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Paul Boyer Automata and Kinetic Creations Video

I had seen video of some of Paul Boyer's automata, but I had no idea of this man's creative diversity! He has created plenty of motorized automata, graceful wire creations, a wind calliope, kinetic sculptures, and even a drum playing marble-track machine.

Here is a nice long video taking you on a virtual tour of The Paul Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings in Belleville Kansas.

A remarkable body of work.

[ Thanks Osmyn! ]


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Collection of Thoughts by Artist Tom Haney

Here is one new piece by Tom Haney now documented on his web site. Titled A Collection of Thoughts, this motorized automaton features extraordinary detail and Haney's uncanny ability to create a vintage feel.

His web site has a set of nineteen photographs showing the automaton in various stages of construction and 3 short movies.

Here's a link to Tom Haney's page for A Collection of Thoughts.


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Animatronic "Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill"


This video of an Pet Store/Grill Restaurant mashup uses some of the most clever, funny, and thought-provoking animatronics I have ever seen. I had never considered mechanizing and animating a hot dog. Remarkable work.

Banksy's Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill is in New York's West Village on 7th Avenue between West 4th and Bleeker Street.

This enchanted Village Pet Store/Grill comes to us from The Wooster Collective via a post on BoingBoing.net.


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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Steve Gerberich: Springs Sprockets & Pulleys

Steve Gerberich: Springs Sprockets & PulleysIf you will be in Iowa between September to December 2008, check out the exhibit of the work of Steve Gerberich at the Waterloo Center for the Arts. Made from old machines, kitchen utensils, junk, lighting fixtures, medical supplies, toys, and figurines, his work blends mechanical motion and keen inventiveness.

See more kinetic sculpture by Steve Gerberich on his web site.

This news comes to us by way of a Cabaret Mechanical Theatre blog.


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Friday, September 26, 2008

Tom Haney Exhibit Opens Today in Atlanta

A reminder: Tom Haney's new show opens today September 26th, 2008 at Mason Murer Fine Art in Atlanta!

Get the details at the Mason Murer Fine Art.


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Interview with Amy Jenkins, Toy Designer & Artist

Plush robots by Amy JenkinsAmy Jenkins has been involved with industrial grade design and fabrication for years and is currently developing a studio in California where she can explore ideas for toy design and production. Shown here are are her some of her plush robot creations.

She recently did an interview with the San Francisco chapter of Bizaar Bizarre and was kind enough to mention The Automata / Automaton blog.

Check out some of Amy's many, many creations at the Cozy Rampage blog.

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The Masterful Balboa Park Carousel Egg

The Balboa Park Carousel Egg -- the fifth such egg completed by J. Grahl Design -- is a precise miniature reproduction of the Balboa Park Carousel. The egg features some 56 hand-carved carousel animals, detailed paintings, lights, and decorative trimmings.

18 years in the making, J. Grahl Design commissioned a team of master jewelers, machinists, wax carvers, crystal experts, sculptors, artists, and woodworkers to construct the egg.

Even the music mechanism was created by hand -- and when wound, plays a repertoire of 20 songs from the late 1890s. This fantastic piece weighs in at 80 pounds and with its base and music stand, reaches a height of 27 inches.

The egg is composed of nearly 5,000 parts of an astonishing variety of fine materials including:

* 22 Karat gold used for the outer decorative embellishments
* 20 carats of very high quality diamonds
* Platinum used for setting all diamonds
* Sterling silver overlaid with 18K gold for the base of the egg shell
* Lead Crystal - optical grade
* Brass, and bronze, cast iron, stainless and carbon steels
* Bird's eye maple

To view more work by J. Grahl visit Jgrahldesign.com.

[ Thanks Nick! ]


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Let's Put Boyer's Automata on the Map in Kansas!

The Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings is a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art title because of more than 65 motion displays including hand-carved figurines made by Kansas artist Paul Boyer.

The Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings in Belleville, KS is owned and operated by Paul Boyer's daughters, Ann and Candy. Some days Paul is in the museum tuning up his displays. Paul's wish for the future is to keep his collection together where people can see it and enjoy it. Let's help them out by voting for them!

You do not need to be from Kansas to vote. You can vote 3 times using the same e-mail address. You will need to vote for 7 other nominees in addition to your vote for the Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings. Voting ends October 15, 2008.

Vote for The Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings to be one of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Art.


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Monday, September 01, 2008

Dug North Featured as Artist of the Month

I am honored to have been chosen to be featured as Artist of the Month by For Art's Sake -- a community association that celebrates art in Harvard, Massachusetts.

There is a nice article about me, my sorted past, my influences, and why I think automata are among the coolest things on the planet.

Here's a link to the article about Dug North on the For Art's Sake site.


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Friday, August 01, 2008

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum

Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Marvin Yagoda has been collecting vintage coin-operated machines since 1960. Open since 1990, his little museum is located a shopping mall north of Detroit in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The interior is filled with historical and modern arcade machines, sideshow wonders, fortune tellers, automata, and curiosities.

Here is the web site for Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum.

[ Thanks Shel! ]


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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Brad Litwin, Kinetic Sculpture Talk in Philadelphia

Brad Litwin, Kinetic Scupture Talk in Philadelphia
Kinetic sculptor and automaton artist Brad Litwin, who I posted about here and here, will be speaking about his kinetic sculptures on Sunday, July 13th in Philadelphia at The University of the Arts, 333 S. Broad Street, Anderson Hall, 4th Floor. While the talk is free(a $5 donation is suggested), an RSVP is required. Send email with first and last name to makephilly@gmail.com.

This info comes to us via the MAKE Magazine blog.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Nemo Gould Solo show in Santa Monica, CA

Kinetic artist and robotic sculpture creator Nemo Gould will be having a solo show called Second Hand Made, at the Lois Lambert Gallery in Santa Monica on Saturday July 12, 2008.

He has been working to come up with an assortment of new work just for this show, and will be displaying some old favorites also.

Here is a link to Nemo Gould's web site with some preview photographs.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Site & Work by Automata Maker Tom Haney

Tom Haney's Automaton: Tinguely's Dream
Automata artist Tom Haney has redesigned his web site. The new site features 4 of the pieces that will be in his show at Mason Murer Fine Arts in September. They can be found under 'New Work' section. He has added a dozen or more "in-progress" photographs for each piece. The new movies on his site are now in Flash, so means they load and play faster than the old format.

All of his old pieces can be found in the 'Archives' section.

Visit http://www.tomhaney.com to see Tom's new site and new work.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Many Links to the Guinness Collection of Automata

Mandolin Player Automaton from the Guinness collecttion
Check out the Murtogh D. Guinness collection at the Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J. -- about 20 minutes from Newark.

The exhibit -- to be opened on November 6th, 2008 -- features mechanical musical instruments and automata from the late 1500s through the early 20th century.

Assembled by the Guinness family (of brewing fame), the collection includes some 700 music boxes, multi-instrument devices, street organs, and mechanical figures.

* Here is a link to Morris Museum web site.
* Here is a link to the Guinness collection of automata page.
* Here is an article on the exhibit from The New York Times.
* There is also an article on the exhibit in the January 2008 issue of Magic magazine (Back issues, $6 USD).

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amazing POV Chair Sculpture by Artist Jim Jenkins

Amazing POV Chair Sculpture by Artist Jim Jenkins
Jim Jenkins can best be described as part sculptor, part engineer, and part choreographer. His kinetic sculptures feature the animation of text and objects to represent a situation or observation.

The piece shown above, entitled The Little Chair, is a perfect example. The chair is mounted on an axle driven by a powerful motor. When the chair spins an electronic device takes advantage of the persistence of vision effect to write out the incongruous message "Sit still". Very clever!

Here is a link to a movie of The Little Chair in action.

Check out this and all of Jim Jenkin's kinetic artwork on his web site.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Automaton Artist Steve Armstrong in Two Galleries

I posted some time ago about automaton artist Steve Armstrong's automata on eBay and at the John Pence Gallery.

As it turns out, he also has automata available in two other galleries at this time: the Heike Pickett Gallery in Kentucky and the Logsdon 1909 Gallery in Chicago, Il. A few of the pieces shown on their sites may have sold, but many are available.

Shown here is a piece entitled Gatekeeper. I love the box/platform. Just beautiful.

Here is Steve Armstrong's work at the Heike Pickett Gallery. Here is Steve Armstrong's work at the Logsdon 1909 Gallery (Flash required).

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Functioning Wooden Steam Locomotive Model

Functioning Wooden Steam Locomotive Model
Harold Manwaring made this scale locomotive entirely from recycled wood (bravo!) with the exception of a few small metal parts. Everything on the model works, though it does not go anywhere because its driving wheels are suspended slightly above the model track.

The model runs on compressed air that is fed at about 15 PSI to a small stainless steel receiver in the engine's firebox. Lines to the two cylinders are wood, as are the cylinders, and pistons themselves. The pistons are even fitted with wooden piston rings!

The craftsman says of the model:
"I had to use as close tolerances as possible as compressed air does not expand like steam, but also taking into consideration humidity and how much the wood would move. Two air lines run from the cabin valves out to the whistle and one to the valves. The whistle blows at about 2-3 lbs of air and the engine runs really well at about 12-15 lbs of air and stops at 8-9 lbs. It worked on the first attempt, so I stopped and had a beer."

Here is a nice article on the Harold Manwaring and the wooden steam locomotive. Also be sure to check out this video clip showing the wooden locomotive in operation.

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