When creating a piece, an automata artist must decide
Is the central piece best represented by a human character,
an animal or an inanimate object?
Do I want my piece to project a theme? If so, will it
be satirical, political, or humorous? For example, in
one of my works, I chose Canadiana as the main theme and
titled it Proudly Canadian.
|The author's piece Proudly Canadian features Canadiana as its theme.
Will a simple mechanism be adequate, or will a more complex
mechanism add to the piece? Do I plan to show the internal
workings of my machine?
and Construction: Will I make the piece using wood, metal
or a combination of the two? Will I use found wood, hardwood
or plywood? Will it be painted, stained or unfinished?
Making an automaton is similar to building furnitureboth
follow the process of turning an idea into a design, a design
into a plan, and then a plan into a product. We are all familiar
with the steps of marking out, cutting, sanding, assembling
and finishing. Figuring out the mechanism is the only less-familiar
you find the idea of building a mechanism intimidating, you
are not alonesometimes it can be! However, here is the good
news: for beginners, a basic understanding of the use, not
the theory, of three or four simple mechanisms is good enough.
To start, just learn how to make things go up and down, side
to side, back and forth (hint: cams and crank sliders) and
rotate (more hints: cranks and gears). Even a simple machine
can do a lot.