December was filled with the usual Christmas busyness. Even though the winter was mild in comparison to some, I found it hard to drag myself out to my unheated garage workshop. So during the month of January I started to look into building a wooden clock. Clocks are so cool, a real functional piece of kinetic art. There are several sites that offer a wide assortment of beautiful clock designs. You can go the plan route or assemble a kit. Some of the clockmakers offer a kinetic sculpture that utilizes a clock escapement mechanism coupled with either a spring or weight driven propulsion to produce movement. It was these types of sculptures that led me into the world of Automata. As I was looking at various sculptures on YouTube, I saw some videos of automata in the side bar and, as they say, the rest is history.
My personality seems to be one of single mindness. I choose a subject and that subject remains the focus of my attention until my focus shifts to another subject. I can feel my focus moving from automata to other kinetic clock type scupltures. How long will I stay focused is unknown. I still have several ideas for automata I would like to pursue. Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to do both. We will see.
The artist that I believe is one of, if not the original, developers of the clockwork type sculptures is David C Roy. I believe he has been doing them for over 25 years and does amazing work. You can view his work from his site here. My wife and I saw examples of his work many years ago, maybe in Traverse City, and they left quite an impression on me.
While working with automata, I came across a man named Art Fenerty. Mr Fenerty is a computer programmer by trade but a woodworker hobbyist. He developed a gear program that he uses for clock design and is available for purchase on his site that can be found here. He too was impressed by the works of David C Roy and set about building his own. He calls his pieces tickers and he has graciously made one available for free plus he has a detailed video on the construction of the ticker.
My wife and I were on vacation for about 5 weeks, returning home in March. Shortly after we returned I set about making my own ticker. After about 3 weeks of experimenting I am nearly done. I have a working piece and I just need to stain and poly it. I will put out a video as soon as I am able.
There are several versions of these sculptures and I will probably look into them next. I also came across a great YouTube channel by Ken Kuo that has annimations of quite a few clock ecapements. The escapement is the heartbeat of a clock and is a beautiful piece of art all in itself. I want to look into making some of these escapements as stand alone pieces.
And of course, I still would like to make a clock.