Automata Wooden Sculpture ~ Mango Ship

Mango Ship Automata Sculpture
I think it’s about time I write a little about the Mango Ship, as it’s getting a bit warmer now and I can venture into the basement to make wooden things again. The first automata that I ever made was completed last September. It took me a fair bit of thought because I was learning as I worked on it.

Mango Ship Automata Sculpture

Automata is a form of kinetic sculpture, it’s mechanical in nature.  The principle behind Mango Ship is very simple. Driven by a hand crank, the waves and boat are independent from each other but are threaded with a dowel that connects to the top of the base.

Mango Ship Automata Sculpture

Running along the width is a shaft with two pairs of oval, offset cams. As the crank turns, the cams work counter to each other. One pair of cams causes the waves to rock, and the other pair causes the boat to tip back and forth.

This is how it came together:

The Cheshire Bus Stop, Paper Craft Play Set


I’ve been working on this play set for quite a while. It always surprises me how edits show themselves once you have printed proofs. I upload my files to Staples and pick up the proofs when we do our weekly errands. It took quite a bit of experimentation with a scale that was suitable for both the building detail and the size of the figures.

I listed this paper toy play set in my Etsy shop


Paper Toys – Monsters

paper toy monsters, Gabrielle Nowicki


If you look back, you will find a couple of these guys in a photo of my desk in this post 

I’ve been focusing on paper toys, and tweaking things in my Etsy shop but I’m still churning out the collages. It’s just too cold these days to spend much time in the basement so I’m taking a break from the automata and other wooden things.

It took me a while to finally post these because I wanted to offer them as digital downloads in my Etsy shop. To do that, I needed to rebuild the instructions page. Having completed that, and taking pictures, they are finally available to purchase.

The Three Little Pigs Finger Puppets

I love fairy tales. Some of my love of drawing comes from looking at illustrated fairy tales as a kid. This is my first finger puppet play set. I wanted to include some props to make the 3 Little Pigs experience “richer,” so I designed them to be stuck on craft or popsicle sticks. The part where the wolf huffs and puffs is the highlight of the story, in my estimation, so naturally I had to include that. I’ve listed this kit as a digital download in my Etsy shop.

Cromarty and Sutherland and Much, Much Love

This morning, I woke up and checked my email. There were many messages from Tumblr letting me know that so-and-so-tumblr-member is now following you. Something was obviously up, and I hoped that some type of spammy bot thing hadn’t unleashed boundless love on my unsuspecting blog.

A bit of sleuthing showed that Tumblr Radar had posted Cromarty and Sutherland at about 1:00 am this morning. Now, this is really unexpected and exciting! All this outpouring of love in the form of over 3000 page visits as well as likes, reblogs and new followers. I’ve been going through my activity page and discovering blogs and people, I might have never seen otherwise.

tindaisies, gabrielle nowicki collage

Happy Valentine’s Day, with love, from Cromarty and Sutherland

On My Desk




Well, a mishmash of all types of different things are on my plate right now. I’m a little bit distracted can’t you tell? I’ll tell you what all this stuff is about:

1. My collage box. I made this box from 1/2″ pine planks and made the hardware myself, repurposed from a coat hanger, curtain rod hook, scrap sheet metal and other things. This is where I keep my finished A Collage a Day thingies. So far, I’ve made 89 of these thingies. I number them with rubber stamps and slide them into cello sleeves.  I think I’ll bake a cake when I hit 100.

2. An unfinished automata. It’s an angel. When you turn the crank, she lifts off the base and does a few twirls around before landing. I’ve been a bit of a mad Igor in the basement, building these things. The building part of them is completed and I plan to finish them when I feel the time is right… and then I’ll probably paint them all at once, when I’m in the groove

3. A few of the latest collages. I make these in open ended sessions. I work on them until I lose the flow. Sometimes, I only make a couple, but I’ve also made as many as seven. I’m excited to see where these exercises take me.

4. These paper toy boxes have been in the development stage longer than they should have. I originally made them as a part of a bus stop play set but decided to turn them into novelty gift boxes.

5. Another wooden sculpture. It’s very much based on the collages I’ve been making. I like it when one project flows into another one. It might be part of an automata, or be free standing. I’m not sure yet.

6. This is my desk “organizer.” This means any tools on my desk that are getting in the way, get stashed in this box. My dad made this box. It’s just the right size for putting in a multitude of things that clutter. Speaking of clutter, I’ll post an “on my desk” picture, showing the end of a collage making session. You won’t believe the mess.