Monday, 1 August 2011

Pianola Roll - embroidery and automaton

I have finally completed my first Pianola Roll project, having bought these from the World of Mechanical Music Museum.

I took as my starting position the fact that the holes in the paper were information points, and so took those and used them to make a cross-stitch embroidery.  I also copied some of the printed information on the roll as it would have been visually dull though intellectually rigorous to have just used one set of data to make an accurate copy into another medium.

In order to make an object which would hang well I used bondaweb to stick a backing fabric onto the cross stitch. I used part of an old sail I had available, which is a good material to use at it cuts easily, is strong, and doesn't fray. I then used bondaweb to stick the embroidery onto the original pianola roll, having cut off almost all the paper but kept the section which attached it to the bobbin.

I haven't sorted out the display method yet, but this piece can either be hung from from a cord attached to the edges of the bobbin, or set on a surface using the original box to hold it in place.
a second, complete, pianola roll
I haven't made much progress on the automaton idea.  I have played with the kit I bought, and I do understand much more of what would be needed to make a hand that moved when a handle was turned.

I made the basic hand by sticking the pianola paper onto artist's canvas and then using knotted wool to allow the joints to move.

the fingers move - a little
canvas backing on paper

I have also played with a small windup 'gramaphone' music box I bought, and a little doll, but haven't managed to work out how to make a piece where turning one handle makes it look as if the doll is winding the gramophone.

wind-up gramophone from Ebay

my 95pence doll from the charity shop

An additional problem is that the gramophone works by winding the handle a little and it then plays for quite a while, with the handle rotating in the opposite direction as it does so.  I had assumed it would be like those little metal music boxes you can get where the music only works as long as you turn the handle.

I doubt I will have these pieces done in time for the exhibition but I am not giving up yet!  In the mean time I need to get on and work on the 'Love Tokens' project I started ages ago, based on the archives at the Coram Foundling Hospital.

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