Did you think I forgot? My 30-day pseudo-commitment to a better toymaking Mike? Possibly. :)
Unfortunately, with everything going on this past week, I kinda lost track of time and got a really late start on this week’s toy. Regrettably, for the same reason, I think I’m going to take a break from toymaking.
With a population of only 9000 residents, the small Russian village of Bogorodskoye is still famously known for its hand-carved wooden toys that bear the village’s namesake: the Bogorod toy, a craft that has been generationally passed down over the last 500 years.
Oddly, most of the websites I found referring to the traditional Bogorod toys seem to indicate that they are ONLY made in Bogorodskoye and nowhere else! Accurate or not, it’s as if our fellow comrades were permitted to build these playful wonders, but ONLY within the confines of their tiny village. I would argue that it bears some resemblance to the questionable circumstances surrounding Eduard Khil and his “offendingly western-positive” lyrics that led to Mr. Trololo. Trolololo-lo-lololo-lololo…
I’ve always found automata strangely fascinating. Yes, it’s a fairly broad topic that can describe any self-operating machine, but I’m primarily talking about the wooden ones. The kind of engineering delights that use cams and gears, cranks and crank shafts, levers and linkages! It could be as simple as a wind-powered rooftop whirligigs — yup, that’s it’s actual name — that animates a lumberjack chopping wood. Or on the opposite end of complexity spectrum of automata, amazing kinetic sculptures that artists like Reuben Margolin or Theo Jansen design!
It is entirely possible (and likely) you are as surprised as I am that it’s week 2 and I haven’t yet abandoned this endeavour. But here I am: another week, another toy.
I do like the folk toys, so I took a step back from the cute factor of apes and did some experimenting with one of my favourite mechanisms: the Jacob’s Ladder.
This is the first of the aforementioned “weekly prototype” initiative…the Climbing Ape. It is a variation I saw on the Internets, based on the traditional folk toy, the double-corded climber.
That’s a funny looking ape! Hey, this is wood class, not art class. So my ability to cut an ape in wood was largely debilitated by my inability to draw an ape on paper. My first sketch was loosely based on King Louie from the Jungle Book…but I suppose if you squish your eyes around, you could see some semblance of Donkey Kong with a hint of Homer Simpson.
I am apathy surrounded by ambition and self-improvement.
The “30 Day Challenge”…the latest craze on the Internets promoted by the bloggisphere and Facebook and Twitter and whatever social networking tool you fancy, driven by a fleet of users seeking new experiences and new beginnings.
The premise is that you commit to trying something new every day for 30 days and tell the world about it…like having the traditional New Years resolution, but failing at the end of the first day, then repeating for the next 30 days. This seems like a lot of work.