Pascale Michalski studied at London South Bank University where she begun making automata. Her first piece is the spectacular ‘Fort Libellula’.
The Fort Libellula Automaton is a hand crank operated machine incorporating a custom melody box and several performing movements.
It is a glimpse into the royal court of a bizarre Dragon-fly Queen, basking in the grotesque subjugation of her people.
The concept for the Fort Libellula Automaton started off as a personal passion for the art nouveau style, an exploration of curvi-linear aesthetics combined with an idea of dragonfly-like creatures. The intention was to mix mechanical fun and grotesque beauty.
The concept quickly developed into an impression of some kind of castle or throne room, where an evil dragonfly queen reigns imperiously over her slaves and courtiers. This gave an opportunity to incorporate a variety of different character movements and also hints at some kind of story or unfolding drama, adding another layer to the piece.
It is built like a multi-levelled tower, the main structure of which is made of wood and then covered in brass. The organic shapes and creatures were shaped using a sculpting material, hand painted and then glazed. All the miniature costumes are tailored from custom dyed silk and embellished with crystal and metal beads.
There’s a slideshow of images showing the making process here.
There is an article from Crafts magazine about Pascale here.