Archive for the 'Fobots' Category


Deck the Halls With Bots of Folly

The extent of my Christmas decorating this year. Peace and joy to you all—Amy2012 Christmas Mantelpiece


2013 Calendar–It’s almost Here!

It’s just about time for another hilarious glimpse into the secret lives of the Fobots!  The 2013 calendars have arrived from the printer, and will be available at my new shopping site, (or through a link on the website) starting on Sunday, November 18, at 3pm EST. Here’s a sneak preview of Mr. January. They’re still $14.95 + shipping, and just in time for Christmas. What better way to own 12 Fobots?


Party Animals



I’m sitting on the floor of the Las Vegas airport, one of many people squatting next to electrical outlets like bums on the sidewalk in need of a voltage fix. (Watts?  Got any spare watts?) I’ve been away in California taking care of my mom and her newly broken arm, which has put me way behind for our last show of the year in Westchester County, NY.  But my Auntie Anne’s pretzel is long gone, I’ve checked Facebook to see if anything happened in my absence (no), and I have run out of “I’m too busy” excuses to prevent me from updating this poor neglected blog. And I do have a little sweetie of a Fobot I want to share with you.

People often ask us at shows if we ever have bots we can’t bear to part with, and I always say no, I take their picture before I send them out into the world, and that’s enough. But then I started working on this little one, one of the smallest I’ve ever completed (8″ tall), and she just got to me. I try not to get too attached to “things”, but I could already feel the hurt of letting her go someday. And then something funny happened.  I took her downstairs and showed her to Phil for the first time.  And without any idea of what I’d been thinking to myself, Phil said “We have to keep this one. We can’t sell her”. So meet “Dolly Dimple”, one of very few Fobots we actually own. You’d think we’d have a house full of bots, but no, just the very first one, one I made for Phil one Christmas, one that hangs on the wall in the kitchen and has all of the house and car keys in it (he’s earning his keep) and now, her.  There are many collectors out there who own more Fobots than we do.  But we have the best one.  At least in my opinion. And Phil’s.


Attention, Junior Fobotologists!

We get a lot of kids in the booth at art fairs. A LOT. And a lot of teachers as well.  And for the last few months, I’ve been promising to share an idea I had with them for a simpler, more child-friendly technique for making Fobots. Now, please note–this is not how I make Fobots.  Noooo no no. When I make’em, there are metal fragments flying, molten lead dripping, caustic chemicals, and a hundred different ways you can hurt yourself. In short, not an ideal school project, unless you really hate children.

The idea I had was this–don’t try to glue objects to your cans or other found materials. Glue bonds break too easily, and it’s hard to hold everything in place while the glue is drying. So what you’re going to do is buy a bunch of magnets from the hardware or craft store, and glue stuff to THEM. Then, find tin cans for the head and body, and let the magnets do what they do best. Here are two little bots that I put together this morning from stuff I had laying around the house, as well as some cans from the recycling bin:

Junior Fobots

Here are the details.  First, find cans that are tin, not aluminum. Cans that had liquid inside and that have been opened by puncturing them with a “church key” type can opener are best if you want to have both the top and bottom of the can in place. You can leave the labels on or remove them–or even paint the cans. Next, round up a bunch of cool stuff from that drawer in the kitchen, that workbench in the garage, that aisle at Ace Hardware that has all the fun little parts in drawers, or the flea market. Then glue that stuff to the magnets. I used hot glue, because I like the immediacy, but most glues will do. Finally, just stick the magnets to the cans. I chose not to give mine legs. It’s hard to find cans that have the bottom intact, and if they do, they have ridges on the bottom that make it hard for the magnets to stay level. So one of mine has a skirt, and the other is legless, but if you do find a can that is wide and smooth on the bottom, give it a try. Just don’t make the legs too long, as it will make the bot unstable. For an even simpler project, make just a robot head–you can have plenty of fun and creativity with eyes, noses, mouths, hair, hats, ears, mustaches…

The beauty of this process is that if you drop your bot, or squeeze the arms too hard, anything that comes off can just get stuck right back on. And bonus! If you find enough cool junk, you can mix and match to your heart’s delight, just like Mr. Potato Head!


Another Star is Born

Remember a few years ago when a bunch of Fobots were part of the set dressing for the TV show, “Ugly Betty”?  Well, it’s happened again!

While we were exhibiting at the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in Reston two weeks ago, a woman who works for ESPN stopped by the booth. Being somewhat ill-informed when it comes to anything athletic, I assumed when she said “Pardon the Interruption” that she was apologizing for cutting short a conversation I was having with an old friend, Roger Bridges. But no, she wanted to know if she could borrow a Fobot for the set of this ESPN news/talk/opinion show featuring Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. After doing a little research to determine that this wasn’t a scam–yeah, I’m suspicious like that–I agreed.

So here he is, the latest bot to achieve TV stardom. His name is “Droid Hobbs” (baseball movie reference, let me know if you get it) and he is composed of a camera, baseball, phone ringer bell, sash lock, wrenches, hose fittings, and a watch movement. And if you peek through the top lens of the camera, you can see his heart inside. He just arrived there this afternoon, and Bonnie (that’s the nice lady that “discovered” him) says he’ll be on the “Pardon the Interruption” set tonight, and he’ll be there until I send a new one–probably at the end of baseball season. It’s on here at 5:30pm, if you want to see him in action.  Or inaction, as the case may be. He doesn’t move much.
Droid Hobbs

UPDATE: “Droid” made his TV debut the same day he arrived at ESPN, and he’ll be there until the end of baseball season. Here he is with Tony Kornheiser.  Droid is the one on the right.

Tony and Droid


Holiday Greetings from Fobotopia

Or, “Deck the halls with bots of folly”.


The 2011 Annual Online FOBOT Sale

It’s almost time for the annual online FOBOT offering! At noon Eastern Time, November 1, I’ll be uploading a whole new gallery of bots available to purchase on the website . The pictures on the site are, of necessity, somewhat small, so if you’d like to see larger images of the bots you’re interested me, email me and I’ll be happy to send them to you. Once you’ve made your decision, email me and I’ll mark your selection as “sold”. When I’ve packed your purchase up, and know where it’s going, I’ll be able to give you exact costs for shipping and insurance. And do consider having you bots shipped to your business address, where there will be someone available to sign for it–I hate having boxes left out on the doorstep.

New this year–want to preview the available bots, rather than making a snap decision at noon on Tuesday?  The FOBOTS now have their own fabulous Facebook fan page!  Go to
and click the thumbs up “Like” button at the top of the page. I’m still adding pictures of the new bots as I finish cleaning up the images, and “Liking” the page will enable you to see in your newsfeed when new pictures have been uploaded. You’ll also be able to see breaking FOBOT news, share pictures with friends, and generally make me and the bots very happy.  Here’s one of the new guys now on Facebook; meet “Sparkler”.  He’s made from a vintage candy tin, pool ball, hinge pins, doorknobs, Christmas lights, doorstop, clock gear, and hydraulic fittings. Enjoy, and I’ll see you Tuesday.


Scenes of Carnage and Devastation From the Great East Coast Earthquake

Before you scroll down to observe a photo revealing the cruel power of Mother Nature once again unleashed against some poor, defenseless Fobots, let me set the stage for you.

It was nearly 2pm yesterday afternoon, and I was hard at work in the Fobotorium. What little of my brain that was not focused on the task at hand–namely, drilling holes into a “Ben Hur” cayenne pepper tin–was thinking about the approaching hurricane. Hurricanes are a fact of life here in North Carolina, and with the exception of Hurricane Fran 15 years ago, have little effect on those of us living so far inland. Unless you count the swarms of people at the grocery store depleting the shelves of bread, milk, and eggs. What is it about natural disasters that makes North Carolinians crave French toast? But I digress. The house started to shake. First thought–the washing machine is off balance. Second thought–I’m not doing laundry. Third thought–I’ve left the bench grinder on. That always makes the room shake. Fourth thought–no, it’s off, and anyway, even though it’s powerful enough to make Mongo flee the room in terror when it’s on, it’s not this bad. Fifth thought–this feels a lot like the earthquakes I grew up with in California. Sixth thought–oh my god, California’s having an earthquake, and it’s so big we’re feeling it all the way out here.

It took the local news media several minutes to respond to the breaking story, but when they did, they obsessed about it like…well, like Mongo trying to pull every last bit of stuffing out of Squeaky Skunk. I mean, a slim chance of a hurricane hitting us AND an earthquake in the same day? Local newscasters were wetting themselves.

I bring you now to the scene of devastation I found when I searched for damage:

Mongo didn’t even wake up.



As previously threatened, here (finally) is the epic story of our travels this summer. Four shows in five weeks without driving home between them may be good for the gas mileage, but it’s hell on one’s personal life.

First stop: Columbus Ohio.  I think I’ve written quite enough about Columbus (see previous blog post).  That storm was one of the scariest things I’ve ever experienced. According to witnesses, one tent caught the gale just right and ended up stuck in some trees, two stories up. But we survived, my back has recovered, and we’ve already been invited back next year. But here’s what gives me pause–maps of the layout for next year’s fair, which moves back to its original location at a riverfront park, show most of the artists’ booths on the two bridges over the river. Sorry, but no freakin’ way. There’s nothing blocking the wind for miles, and if we get another storm, they’ll be fishing art out of the river for months.

Here’s a weird anecdote about the Columbus show. At the thirteen previous shows we’ve exhibited at, we’ve had maybe three requests total for a dentist robot. At Columbus, we must have had a dozen. What gives, Columbus? Was there a dentist convention going on there at the time? Are you all obsessed with dental health? Were we the victim of some kind of bizarre flash mob or practical joke? So here you go, Columbus–meet the Tooth Fairy:

Next up: Chicago, for the Old Town Art Fair. But first—shopping! We must get asked 400 times a day, “Where do you find all your stuff?” Our new favorite answer–and pastime–stopping at antique malls as we drive between shows.  Here’s the haul from Columbus to Chicago:

And what else did we do in the five days between shows? The Field Museum (awesome), the Chicago Art Institute (awesomer), and the Shedd Aquarium (seriously un-awesome, as it was cold and rainy and absolutely crawling with unruly kids). Given the choice of looking at live fish or a video display to help one identify said fish, kids will completely ignore the live fish and focus on the electronic ones. So here’s a picture from an exhibit of electronic art at the Art Institute. Yup, that’s us on the video screen. No irony there…

The Old Town Art Fair is the only show for which I will wake up at 5am for a 6:30am setup. It’s THAT good. Even though it had been raining for days, and the only thing worse than setting up at 6:30am is setting up at 6:30am in the rain. Miraculously, the rain stopped just in time, though the cold lingered and I had to buy a winter coat that evening. Did I mention this was June? But sales were brisker than the climate. I even sold a bunch of my best, more “high end” pieces to some very discerning collectors. I love you Chicago.  Please invite us back next year. Pleeeeeeaaaaaase?

Flew home Monday to furiously restock before show #3, a week and a half later. Picked up the van in Chicago and drove to Des Moines. Not our biggest show, but definitely one of our favorites. Great organizers and volunteers, a kick-ass party for the artists Saturday night, and a beautiful setting encircling a sculpture park. Here’s a picture of my favorite piece, an three story tall seated figure composed of metal letters, by Jaume Plensa. It looks like he’s watching over the row of lighted tents, blessing and protecting them.

We’re on the far left. No horrible storms THIS year until a full two hours after we’d packed up and left. Woohoooo!

And then…more junking!

Finally, the Cherry Creek Art Festival, holder of the record for most Fobots sold in 2010. You know the cliche, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”? It really is true. Temperatures parked themselves in the mid-nineties all three days, and it was so dry it was wonderful. At least, compared to the sauna that is North Carolina. It’s so dry (how dry is it?) that if you get the turndown service at the fancy hotel we were staying at, they don’t leave a chocolate on your pillow, they leave a bottle of water. Seriously. By the end of the day, deer were coming out of the woods to lick my face, it was so salty. And I did suffer one injury–after two days, back in the hotel, I felt like I’d burned the thumb and forefinger of my right hand. Couldn’t figure out how I did it for the life of me. That is, until I got back to the show Monday morning, and tried to twist open the first of probably a dozen bottles of water for the day. Yup-I’d developed “water bottle hand”. Can I get workmen’s comp for that?

Once again, students sponsored by Janus, and armed with large amounts of cash, descended on the show to buy art for their schools. And once again, they picked a Fobot: “Boy Toy”, pictured below along with some of the student buyers. These kids were so bright, so inquisitive, and so determined to pick just the right pieces of art for their schools, they restored my faith in kids. Which was still pretty shaky after the screaming hellions at the Shedd Aquarium.

So, bottom line, how was the Cherry Creek Art Fair? Let me put it this way–you may have noticed that there’s one less show listed in the schedule on the right side of this blog. Sorry, Arts, Beats, & Eats in Royal Oak Michigan, but sales were so overwhelming, we had to cancel. And there’s now a new sales record. DENVER LOVES FOBOTS. And we love you too, Denver.

July 2020

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