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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Friday, April 09, 2010

EL CONDOR PASA - hand-cranked bird automaton

Check out this charming automaton by retired civil engineer Roberto LouMa.

See more of his work on his YouTube page.


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Saturday, April 03, 2010

DVD with episode featuring maker Ernie Fosselius

Some time ago, I did a post about automata-maker Ernie Fosselius. The ever-resourceful Charles Mak found a DVD which features Ernie Fosselius in one of its half hour episode.

About the DVD:
No Rest in the Northwest (Season 11- 2006)
"In theses six half-hour shows produced for Kansas City Public Television, you’ll roll over the Rockies and to the woods. See the Gilgal Sculpture Garden in Utah, Cleo’s Ferry Museum in Idaho, Portland Oregon’s Velveteria and the Walker Rock Gardens in Seattle. Meet self-taught California artists like Ernie Fosselius, Dr. Ken Fox and Patrick Amiot, plus much, much more. Contains 6 complete episodes, outtakes, special bonus material, and a snappy music video! Price: $19.95"

Here's a link where you can buy the DVD featuring Ernie Fosselius.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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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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Friday, March 19, 2010

The coolest maker(s) of things in the world

Recently, I did a post about a book covering The Pneumatics of Hero of Alexandria. To get a better sense for some of the inventions this ancient genius came up with check out this segment of The History Channel's series titled Ancient Discoveries. The amazingly talented maker of technical and historical reproductions, Richard Windley, recreated a working version of Hero's archer and dragon automaton for the show.

Learn more about Richard Windely's historical recreations on his web site.


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Keith Newstead: profile of the artist and new blog

Kieth Newstead submarine automaton
There is a great profile of automata-maker Keith Newstead over at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre site.

Also be sure to check out Keith Newstead's blog which he just recently started.


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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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Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Studio with automata-artist Tom Haney

Enjoy this beautiful montage of images and video taken within artist Tom Haney's studio.

See more of Tom Haney's work at www.tomhaney.com.


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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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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some early machines created by Tim Hunkin

Here is a real treat for you: nearly 10 minutes of video showing large-scale coin-operated machines and automata by the inimitable Tim Hunkin. Hunkin is a not only a great automata-maker, but a cartoonist, engineer, and host of a television series called The Secret Life of Machines.

Learn more about Tim Hunkin
on his web site.


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Per Helldorff's Mekaniskt hjärta (Mechanical heart)

Per Helldorff is a Swedish artist who uses both hand-carving and carpentry techniques to create beautiful automata. The one shown in the video here is called Mekaniskt hjärta (Mechanical heart) is appropriate to one upcoming holiday.

See more of Per Helldorff's automata on his web site.


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Sunday, January 03, 2010

More video of Pablo Lavezzari's 'The Jailer'

I posted video of The Jailer automaton in action the other day. Here is more video of this automaton by artist Pablo Lavezzari showing the back of the piece and how it is operated.

From the video description:

Explanation about the piece THE JAILER. Death locks the souls in jails from where they will never be able to escape and return to the world of the living. But this time Death herself has been trapped. An despite of all her fury, a dog-shaped and a crow-shaped demon will prevent her from escaping.

See more automata by Pablo Lavezzari on his web site.


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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev

Animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev
Check out this excellent mechanized wooden hand by artist Nedko Zhechev.

See more animated sculptures by Nedko Zhechev on this web site.

[ Thanks Philsing! ]


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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Contraption - automaton by artist Tom Haney

Contraption automaton by artist Tom Haney
Here is another great new piece from automata artist Tom Haney. This one is titled Contraption.

See more images -- including his great "in progress" shots -- and videos of Contraption on Tom Haney's web site.


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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

David Knight's watchmaking as miniature sculpture

David Knight's watchmaking as miniature sculpture
David Knight is a watch repairer turned watchmaker. He designs, engraves, crafts every part except for the jewels and springs! He does not use any other mass produced parts, or outsource any of the work to others. His unique, sculptural watches typically take at least 2,000 hours each to make and are priced in the tens of thousands of GBP.

See more images and read some articles on David Knight, maker of sculptural pocket watches.


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Le Bureau Automatique automaton by Paul Spooner

Take a look at this clever automaton by famed maker, Paul Spooner, titled Le Bureau Automatique.

Learn more automata-making legend, Paul Spooner, at Cabaret Mechanical Theatre.


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Monday, December 07, 2009

The assorted wood automata of Michel Fleau

The wood automata of Michel Fleau
Check out this wood automaton by Michel Fleau, entitled Mister Bone.

Here is a link to more images and video of automata by Michel Fleau.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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Friday, December 04, 2009

Colorful mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr

Colorful mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr
Back in December of 2007, The Automata / Automaton Blog featured a piece by artist Kristine Suhr. Then, as now, it's worth heading over to her web site to see large images and video of her colorful wall-mounted mechanical pictures. The mechanisms are constructed from birch plywood or MDF plates. The pictures are painted with acrylic paints.

Shown her is a piece entitled Whose turn is it for washing up? Two pull tabs on opposite ends of the painting make the cowboys draw their pistols.

Here is a link to see more mechanical pictures by Kristine Suhr.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Video profile of New Zealand automata maker

video
Blair Somerville is an automata maker in New Zealand. Here is a nice video profile of him from a New Zealand news station. He really comes across like a warm, playful, and creative person.

Here is the link to the written profile of artist Blair Somerville.

[ Thanks Phil Sing! ]


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Large wooden spider automaton

Check out this automaton of a spider by Tim Douglas. Crafted of oak and walnut, the automaton beautifully depicts the motions of a spider.


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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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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The automata of Sophie Catherine Naylor

Here is a video of a creative automaton done by Sophie Catherine Naylor. She just graduated from Loughborough University having studied illustration and animation. She specialized in automata during her final year.

I expect we will be seeing more automata from her in the near future.

Check out pictures and video of many other automata by Sophie Catherine Naylor on her web site.


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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The mechanical wooden art of Per Helldorff

Check out about ten automata and other mechanical wooden creations created by Per Helldorff on his web site.

I don't know what all of the pieces do, but it is clear that there is some serious creativity and ingenuity behind them.

Here's the link to the 'Mekanik' section of Per Helldorff's web site.

[ Thanks Charles! ]


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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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Friday, September 25, 2009

Lady Cut in Half by Anatoly Zaya-Ruzo

Mechanical doll maker, Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO has a new automaton titled "LADY CUT IN-HALF".

From the artist:
The LADY is a classical automaton...with 6 movements, drum and music mechanism. This is a new version of Lady Saw'd in Twain, but instead of a saw the Magician holds a huge sword... There is a rolling drum sound prior to the sword moving down... But everything ends happily and the LADY makes a bow. The music mechanism provides two-tunes using a 72-note musical movement.

See this and other automata by Anatoly Zaya-Ruzo on his site.


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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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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Clever hand-cranked mechanical brooches

Take a look at these clever little mechanical brooches made by Gary Schott for the Society for Contemporary Craft.

From the artist's description:
These wearable objects emphasize and play with the already existing intimate nature between a wearer and their jewelry object.

In order to fully succeed, both my mechanical works and my wearable objects require human interaction, celebrating intimate moments between object and user(s). This playful collaboration becomes the artful moment for me.

See more work by Gary Schott 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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The imaginary universe of artist Robert Coudray

The Poète Ferrailleur (scrap merchant poet) Museum at La Ville Stéphant, houses an imaginary universe created by a French artist Robert Coudray of France.

See more by this artist on Robert Coudray's web site.

[ Thanks philsing! ]


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Saturday, July 11, 2009

King of Magic automaton by Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO

King of Magic automaton by Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO
Anatoly ZAYA-RUZO, mechanical doll maker, has announced his new creation entitled 'KING OF MAGIC'.

From the artist's description:
The King is a classical automaton about 2 feet high with 9 movements and music mechanism. The action is operated by specially designed heavy duty winding motor 36 lb-in torque. The King makes his magic with street monkey-gambler, and monkey-gambler makes his own trick with dice.

More about this automata -- including video -- will be posted soon on Anatoly's site.


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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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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The utimate rubber-band firing wooden robot

Osamu Kanda has created many interesting automata, but this creation is something else entirely! He's made a ride-on, wooden robot with remote controlled-arms with working fingers and a chest that opens up to reveal a series of Gatling-style rubber-band guns. You wouldn't want to get into a rubber-band war with this man!


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The mobiles and automata of Steve DeSpirito

The mobiles and automata of Steve DeSpirito
Artist Steve DeSpirito creates hanging mobiles that use a balance between gravity and gentle air currents to add life and motion to his pieces.

From the artist's statement:
I like to think of my mobiles as a reminder that although life is ever-changing, one can always find beauty and joy in it. All one needs to do is stay balanced and bend slightly with the breeze.

Quite so. He has also created a few hand cranked automata like the one shown above entitled "Winged Thingy".

Check out all of the kinetic art by Steve DeSpirito on his new blog.


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Monday, June 15, 2009

New site for the magical automata of Pierre Mayer

The magical automata of Pierre Mayer
My friend, collegue, and hero -- Pierre Mayer -- has a new web site featuring his amazing work! He specializes in contemporary wood automata that perform magical illusions. Be sure to check it out!

See all of Pierre Mayer's magic automata on is new web site.


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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Video of paper prototyping a griffin automaton

Katy Hargrove has created a great video in which she describes the process she is using to prototype an automaton project. Using manila folders, paper clips, scotch tap, and metal paper-fasteners, she has managed to create a very interesting motion for her griffin project. This is a great demonstration of an easy and effective process for working out the proportions and motions for various automata figures.

Check out more of her projects on the Art by Katy Hargrove blog.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mobile toyshop by Keith Newstead Automata

A charming piece by Keith Newstead depicting a traveling toy shop. Enchanting.

See more of excellent automata on Keith Newstead's web site.


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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ambigram + Automata = Ambigramautomata

Check out this totally brilliant word-oriented hand-cranked automata. Created by artist Tom Banwell, he calls these creations "Ambigramautomata" -- a combination of the words "ambigram" and "automata".

From the artist's site
The S, I, L, and T are all vertically symmetrical so that they read the same when rotated 180 degrees. The disc with SIL is on a cam so that it moves left and right when rotated. The EN is stationary.

See more of Tom Banwell's many creations at his web site and on his Etsy site featuring some AMAZING masks.


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 classic automata from Fourteen Balls Toy Co.

Late last month I got word from Matt Smith at Fourteen Balls Toy Company that they would be making some new editions of classic Fourteen Balls automata. Among the editions to be made are:

The Misers Deathbed

An Allegory of love

Being Followed

Check out all of their amazing creations at Fourteen Balls Toy Company.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

automatesgalerie - automata museum in Belgium

Our colleagues at the Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik blog have alerted us to some exciting news. A new automata museum has open in Brussels, Belgium featuring the following automata artists:

- Keith Newstead
- Robert Race
- John Grayson
- J Ch Detallante
- L & A St-Léger
- Wanda Sowry
- Philip Lowndes
- Peter Lennertz
- Neil Hardy
- Jason Cleverly
- James Chedburn
- Jacques Jauniaux
- Ian Mckay
- Dominique Corbin
- Carlos Zapata
- Jon Mills
- Jan Zalud

Learn more at the automatesgalerie web site.
[ Thanks Falk! ]


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

'Flying away from my demons' - automaton video

Another amazing new automaton by artist Pablo Lavezzari.

See more of Pablo Lavezzari's automata on his web site.

[ Thanks Pablo!, Thanks Sergio! ]


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

'El Gran Garmendia the magician' automaton

'El Gran Garmendia the magician' is an absolutely amazing new automaton from artist Pablo Lavezzari. Lavezzari has a way of incorporating surprising and clever features in ways I greatly admire. He is one of my favorite automata artists -- without question.

The video production is top-notch too! A pleasure to watch.

See more of Pablo Lavezzari's automata Flash-based web site.

[ Thanks Pablo!, Thanks Sergio! ]


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wanda Sowry's wonderful wood automata @ flickr

Wanda Sowry's wood automata images on flickr
Be sure to check out the videos and photographs of Wanda Sowry's wonderful automata now accessible via a flickr photostream.

Shown here is her piece entitled 'Skeleton Xylobone'.

Here is the link to Wanda Sowry's automata on flickr.


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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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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Beautiful hand-cranked Wooden Orrery

Beautiful hand-cranked Wooden Orrery by Dave Goodchild
Dave Goodchild of Norfolk, England has been making automata for well over 10 years. Most recently, he has chosen to focus his considerable talent on the designing and making of orreries -- mechanical models of the solar system. What is particularly remarkable is that he uses wood as the main material.

The artist says he is about to embark on a new 9-planet orrery which will he will blog as it is built. Take a look at the video below to see some of his handiwork in motion.
See more pictures and videos of Dave Goodchild's Orreries at www.woodenorrery.com


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Friday, February 13, 2009

Tom Haney a highlight of the LA Art Show

Tom Haney's work was a hit at the Los Angles Art Show based on the following quote from a recent article.

From the article:New Orleans based Red Truck Gallery featured apple-crate sized works by an awesomely intricate inventor-sculptor-artist Tom Haney. If you click the photo (right) you can see a movie of this piece which showcases the street-seller opening and closing his jacket to reveal his wears, looking indeed quite dubious. Haney says on his site that most of his time is spent behind the scenes orchestrating the mechanics that move his pieces.

Here is a link to the article Highlights from the LA Art Show.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The kinetic wave sculptures of Reuben Margolin

Here is a wonderful profile of kinetic sculptor Reuben Morgolin from the new Make: Television program.

You can learn more about Reuben Margolin at http://www.reubenmargolin.com/.


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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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Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Steampunk Romance - video of the automaton

The other day I told you about A Steampunk Romance -- the new book by Keith Newstead. Here is a some video of the actual automaton he created and documented in the book. Wonderful! He is so good with metals and contraptions. I'm a big fan.


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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Friendly Gesture automaton by Philip Lowndes

Take a look at the astonishing level of complexity of motion and mechanism achieved by Philip Lowndes in this automaton entitled 'A Friendly Gesture'. A very skilled bit of work!

See more about this piece on Philip Lowndes' web site.


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Beautiful horse automaton by Jacques Monestier

Beautiful horse automaton Jacques Monestier
I posted a few days ago about automata maker and sculptor Jacques Monestier's beautiful and useful prosthetic hand.

Here is another stunning piece depicting a trotting horse. When someone approaches, a sensor detects them and an electric motor on a timer sets the horse automaton in motion. The horse trots and stretches its head and tail. The horse is made of bronze and copper and covered in gold leaf.

The artist clearly has some extraordinary metal-working skills.


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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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Friday, December 05, 2008

Jacques Monestier - Automata Maker and Sculptor

prehensile prosthetic hand
Jacques Monestier is an automata maker and sculptor. For over 30 years, he has also worked with amputees to devise creations like this very beautiful and functional prehensile prosthetic hand. The artist explains that the hand uses the same basic principles as a human hand. The fingers are made of three articulated phalanges each. The thumb is rigid and is directly opposite the index finger.

To see video of this and other marvels visit the web site of Jacques Monestier.


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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 22, 2008

Fort Libellula Hand Cranked Automaton

Soak in the elaborate and lavish detail in this fantastical hand-cranked automaton by Pascale Michalski entitled Fort Libellula.


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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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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Death Trick automaton ... great video!

I've posted about the stunning work of Argentinian automata-maker Pablo Lavezzari and even about the particular piece shown here. In rewatching the video the other day, I noticed that the number of views on YouTube was far too low.

This is a clever, adept, cohesive, and funny automaton by one of the most creative minds in the genre. Do check it out!

Learn more about artist Pablo Lavezzari
on his web site.


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Monday, October 20, 2008

An Automata Maker at the Very End of the World

Artist Blair Somerville
Artist Blair Somerville (above) sits in a green bus in Papatowai, a small settlement in the Catlins district of the southeastern South Island of New Zealand. The bus is home to The Lost Gypsy Gallery, a collection of Somerville's quirky work (below).

The Lost Gypsy Gallery
When the artist is not in the bus/gallery, he spends his time combing beaches and collecting 'junk' as he calls it from which to craft all manner of clever toys, gadgets, gizmos, and automata.

Here is a link to a nice photo set featuring The Lost Gypsy Gallery.

[ Thanks philsing! Photos courtesy of Asha's Site. ]


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Stirring Lady Automaton in Metal by Lucy Casson.


Take a look at the wonderful fluid motion Lucy Casson achieves with recycled metal in this piece called Stirring Lady.

You can learn a bit more about Lucy Casson on her profile page at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre web site.


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Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Automata / Automaton Facebook Group

I am please to announce the creation of a new Facebook group to compliment this and other automata-related sites and blogs. If you are a Facebook user, I hope you will search among the Groups section for The Automata / Automaton Group.

This will be a place to share links, post photos and videos, participate in discussions, and meet others interested in automata and other mechanical things.

If you are not a member of Facebook, it's an easy to use, free social networking site. This may be the reason you've been looking for to join.

Join The Automata / Automaton Facebook Group.


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Friday, October 03, 2008

Art in Motion, Profile of Artist Dug North

I had the great pleasure of being interviewed recently by writer Drea Kane. The University of Vermont Alumni Magazine, The Vermont Quarterly, has published an article she wrote, which is now available online.

It's a great article that tells a bit about me, the history of automata, and their more recent trajectory. I am honored to have been a part of it.

Here is a link to the article ART IN MOTION by Drea Kane.

[ My thanks to Drea Kane and The Vermont Quarterly. ]


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Monday, September 29, 2008

Photos of Automata in Paul Spooner's Tribute

Paul Spooner: A Cheap Automata Shop
Our colleagues and friends over at the blog Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik have directed me to a massive picture pool of automata by dozens of artists that participated in the exhibit celebrating Paul Spooner.

Paul Clarke, and his mother Margery Clarke, operate "The First Gallery" in Southampton, England. The assemblage of photos is by Paul Clarke and is located on the Gallery's website.

Visit the Paul Spooner Tribute Exhibit photograph page.


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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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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 15, 2008

Kazu Harada's Very Accurate Cat Automaton

You'll have to play the video to see why I say that this automaton of a cat is a fine piece of portraiture. I think this is a case of is art imitating life, but it could be the other way around!

See more of Kazu Harada's Automatons (or automata) at http://nizo.jp/

[ Thanks Sarah! ]


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Friday, September 12, 2008

Gina Kamentsky Films and Mechanical Art Demo

Coke Buddha by Gina Kamentsky
This Sunday, September 14th at 2:00PM, artist Gina Kamentsky will be at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA (USA) presenting a line up of her animated film work, followed by a live and kicking demonstration of Mechanical Confections sculptures in the gallery. Shown here is her wind up sculpture titled Coke Buddha.

Among the films she will be presenting is Einstein's Riddle which recently won Best Narrative Short at Animation Block Party in New York. Congrats!


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nemo Gould: New Robot Art @Nemomatic.com

New Robot Work by Nemo Gould
The fantastically talented robotic sculptor, Nemo Gould, has just added some new work to his online portfolio.

You can also catch up on his news page to read about the process behind these pieces, as well as various other things such as studio visits with fellow artists, photos from his recent openings, and more.

Visit Nemo Gould's Portfolio page for the latest additions. Here is the link to his News page.


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Sunday, September 07, 2008

New Edition of Tiger Tamer by Frank Nelson

New Edition of Tiger Tamer by Frank NelsonThis is a new improved version of the Tiger Tamer automaton originally produced by Frank Nelson in the 1970's. In this version, the tiger moves independently of the platform on which he is standing. There will only be 5 of this run made.

From the Description:
"When you turn the handle you will see the Tamer crack his whip once, only for the Tiger to refuse the command by shaking his head. This is repeated on the second crack of the Tamer's whip. On the third and final crack of the whip, the Tiger nods his head in acceptance and then does his trick by swiveling around to put his head in the Tamer's mouth."

Here is the link to the listing for Frank Nelson's New Tiger Tamer Automaton.

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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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