Designing a costume for an automaton is different from designing for a static figure because the clothing should contribute to the motion. Costumes must be designed with plenty of room around the cables so the fabric or seams do not upset the balance or interfere with the movement of the automaton. For Monkey automata the primary movement happens at the waist so a stiff fabric such as mohair fur will work if the shirt top can move independently from the bottom.
The final step is designing clothing that will not restrict the movement of the Automaton. Chris and I have to work very closely together at this stage, to make sure the automaton figure will retain the desired movement. Sometimes it may be necessary for the clothing to dampen (confine) certain motions.
Same but Different
The hand-crank mechanism is the same for all the monkeys, but their movements appear different because they have distinct personalities. The crazed looks of Bonzo and JoJo evoke high energy, while LuLu, with her dainty pink tutu, Jayfred, with his sly grin, and the elder monkey, Marco, appear to be more subdued.
Monkey in Motion
Go to CM VIDEOS to see “Marco”