Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Automata obsession

Recently I've been interested in, more like obsessed by, mechanical toys or Automata.

An automaton (plural: automata or automatons) is a self-operating machine.

I've always been fascinated by mechanical objects since I was a kid. We own a few animated motionettes of the Universal Studios Monsters that I proudly display in the house year round. What began my recently renewed fascination was a few weeks back I had to travel to Madison WI for my job. Luckily my family was able to come with and we spent the day going to various stops and eating at one of our favorite restaurants. After I fulfilled my obligation to my job, Anna felt we should visit one restaurant she had visited in her high school days.

Ella's Deli is a full kosher deli and ice cream shop with an amazing display of whimsical animated displays that fill the entire restaurant. Every table has some sort of interesting feature from working model trains to marble maze races built into a recessed glass-covered box as the tabletop. Mechanical figures move and rotate above your head. There is something to see and do everywhere. During the spring, summer and fall months a restored 1927 Parker Carousel complete with organ music is available for rides outside. The amazement and wonder in the kids' faces upon our visit that day was priceless. I felt the same way and wondered if I could do something similar with the mechanical figures but with a more macabre touch to it.

Over the past few weeks I found a few websites about Automata and mechanical toys. We posted a few on the blog that are the most interesting. I began to dive deeper and we will be ordering a book in a few days about how to make them. The whimsical nature, the craftsmanship, the simplicity of the machine, and wonder that they evoke is the fascination I just adore. I want to begin reading a few books about the subject, then I want to purchase a few kits before I begin designing and building an original machine.

Here is the link to Ella's Deli :

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Leaving winter hibernation

We have remained busy during the winter months, scheduling a trip to Germany and other places in the US, as well as designing a few new items that we will be presenting for purchase in the coming months. We are ready to emerge from winter's hibernation and venture to a few haunted places for more images and stories in the coming weeks.

For us the spring and fall months are ideal for our haunted project. The grass remains green but the leaves are gone leaving only the bare trees. The weather can be very cooperative with warm and cool days. Just perfect for Infrared photography.

Here are a few images of just some of the designs that will be available for purchase at Zazzle very soon as tote bags and shirts.