Both Bones and Flo seem truly surprised by the arrival of a new patient into the waiting room. Meet Mom, or at least some part of Mom. Please don't call her a blockhead as she is in a very sensitive place right now. She's very pregnant, so much so she is actually in labour!
Tune into the blog over the next little while and watch her turn into an eye rolling, fist clenching, foot spinning, belly contracting woman on the verge of birth! Yet to come will be Flo's arms, feet, eyes and such.
Flo is a handkerchief and a few brass bits away from completion. Here she is as of today. She is perched on a glass in the photo so that the shaft that controls her eyes and turns her neck can protrude without her falling over.
Working today brought a surprise. As I was carving Flo's head today it struck me for some reason that she should have a pony tail. No idea why, but now she has one.
Flo's hair was detailed by wood burning. It is a fast and easy way to give texture to characters hair. I think it adds interest to the character's look. You can see the wood burning in the photo below before paint is applied. You can also see the faint line where the top of her head was removed to insert the eye movement mechanism. It will should all but disappear when painted.
In the photo below Flo sits beside Bones, both in different stages of completion. Bones seem to be eyeing his new neighbour rather suspiciously! Maybe it is her lack of eyeballs that freaks him out. Who knows what skeletons think.
I'm Back in the shop working this week on my large Waiting Room automata. This is the makings of Flo. She is a runny nosed patient waiting to see the doctor with all the others. She is third in the series. The first two are Bones and Mom. Mom has yet to be fabricated although she is designed. (Maybe later this week!)
Flo is a lanky girl with a serious head cold. She sneezes repeatedly, spreading germs, much to the dismay of the others around her. When completed she will flutter her eyes, raise a handkerchief, sneeze with enough force to straighten her legs, then glance around innocently. Hopefully tomorrow she'll get lower legs, right arm and head.
I was flattered to be highlighted in the local community newspaper the 'Kawartha Lakes this Week' with a photograph taken at the Kawartha Carving Competition.
The caption read:
Bringing Wood to Life in Bobcaygeon
Al Conquergood, who cottages on Balsam Lake, brought his carvings to the Kawartha Carving Competition and Show in Bobcaygeon on Saturday (Sept. 14). All of his carvings have moving parts and his booth attracted lots of visitors. Mary Riley/This Week
Due to the positive feedback I received at the recent carving competition in Bobcaygeon I have decided to set up a display at the upcoming Ontario Wood Carvers Association's 34th annual competition and show on October 19th and 20th. The show will be at the Recreational Complex on 1867 Valley Farm Road in Pickering, just east of the Pickering Town Centre. The show runs from 11:00am to 4:00pm each day.
Hopefully if you live in the GTA and have been following my site, I would love to meet you at the show. It will have an impressive display of original carvings made by craftsmen from across the province.
One of the characters of the current automata "Waiting Room" that I am working on is a skeleton. You may have seem something about him in a previous blog. After working on things for the recent show I attended I am finally back in the shop working this piece. Here is a clip of Bones' eyes looking anxiously at the triage nurse wondering if he will be overlooked yet again. I will likely do some more detailing on the nose and teeth.
Here is Bones sitting in his chair. His arms and legs have yet to be completed. Some of the pieces can be seen lying around him. When finished his eyes will dart back and forth, his hand will tap on the arm of the chair and his leg will jiggle nervously.
Yesterday I spent an enjoyable day at the Caygeon Carvers Competition, an annual show and competition organized by the local carving club that I am a member of. It's a great way to see some creative and beautiful work made by talented woodcarvers. I had a chance to display some of my work and talk to people about making automata. To most shoe goers it was an unfamiliar art form, and I lots of interest and questions.
Click on photo to enlarge
It seemed that there were two show favourites. Many people were fascinated with the complexity of the "Fishing" piece and found the story of "Check Please" amusing although everyone seemed to their own favourites.
I would like to thank all those who stopped
by and chatted and gave me suggestions and ideas for future projects!
This weekend I'll be attending an exhibition where I will be displaying my work and talking to people about the craft of making automata. Although I will have many pieces, most large I find it challenging sometimes to keep some people at a safe distance. To this end I have made a collection of little individual pieces that people may crank while I control access to the larger works.
These are what I call my "Captains of Industry", a collection of humanoids cranking away, noses to the grindstone. I make them as executive desk toys, sometimes with quotation on the surface, and offer them as a lower cost purchase at a show.
I mentioned in a previous blog that i was going to start constructing the pregnant woman for my latest automata. Well on the way there i got thinking about other possible patients and I ending up working on possibility of creating "Bones", a skeleton who has been waiting for quite some time.
Here is a quick prototype I made looking closely at a piece that the Fourteen Balls Toy Co. had made.
Here is the partial assembly of the final piece. His head as been completed and moving eyes installed. I'll post a photo of it in a later blog.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.