The Jack In The Box Phenomenon

For some reason, humans seem to love to be frightened, shocked and surprised.

Watch a young child turn the handle and hear "Round and Round The Mullberry Bush - The Monkey Chased The Weasle - The Monkey Thought It Was All In Fun . . ."

The child's first experience with this thing is shock, fright and surprise. Depending on the age of the child, some crying and screaming may be involved. Regradless of the initial reaction, the child will invariably close the lid and crank the handle again. Despite knowing, and therefore anticipating, the outcome of turning the crank, the child will still turn the crank and still be shocked - and surprised - and delighted - when the lid of the box snaps open and Jack pops out and bounces around.

Another thing about humans is our curiosity. When faced with something unfamiliar, or familiar - but in some way unfamiliar - we want to answer "What" and "Why".

WHY is THAT there?

WHAT would happen IF . . .?.

These questions are often are followed by the next obvious question - HOW?.

When you see something that's obviously a key meant to wind something up - you're almost compelled to turn it - and wind something up, just to see what happens. Is something going to pop out and startle you - or is this THING merely an odd music box?

And if that key is sticking out of something very familiar, something so ubiquitous that it usually goes unnoticed, in a setting that is clearly set up to specifically focus attention on the object - the urge to Wind That Key is almost irresistable.

Hmmmmm. How can I use / exploit these two human characteristics?

On a shopping trip to an Art Supplies Store to get some black gesso, at the cash register, I saw THIS.

Being a human, I just couldn't resist turning that key, winding this thing up and finding out what happens when I let go of the key. The spring wound mechanism turned a shaft - on which an eccentric weight was attached. The THING jiggled and bounced, buzzing as it danced around on the counter.

"Add THIS to the gesso - and the "texturing medium" - and the decopouge stuff - and the packet of pressed dried leaves." - I said, handing over my Debit Card. (Hey, art supply stores are terrific sources of inspiration - and the stuff to make an inspiration a reality).

SO - a chunk of a redwood 4x4, turned to a cylinder, a little hollowing with the MiniMonster captured hollowing system - one hole drilled and . . .

You know how sometimes everything just sort of comes together so easily? I think that's The Universe / God / The Muse telling you that this is what you're supposed to be doing - at the moment. That's what's happened with this piece. The springy "legs" - with their soft plastic "socks" made attaching Spinny to the "coffee mug in the making" obvious - and effortless. (Pssst - you're doing what you're supposed to be doing.)

Turn the key, let go - and the "mug" jitters and bounces and skitters around! A turned piece with ACTUAL movement - delightful!

Now I just have to make a handle for the coffee mug, mix some brown paint with some decopauge "stuff" and put the "coffee" in the mug. Maybe I'll spray paint the coffee mug glossy white to make it look more familiar.

This one was SO EASY - so far. (sorry - the pessimist in me popped out - but just for a moment).

Not exactly a demonstration of my considerable turning skills (NOT!) or my highly refined sense of proportions and aesthetics ( Oh sure! NOT ) - just a fun idea that I hope will bring someone a smile - and maybe an itty bitty sense of childlike delight most adults lack - but probably need.

CLICK HERE for the YouTube video of this thing in action.

Oh - I was tryihg to come up with a believable "coffee" to put in this mug when it occured to me - actual fresh ground coffee. As a bonus, as this Jitter Mug jitters, spins slowly and buzzes - it gives off the aroma of fresh coffee. I was after adding movement and stumbled on adding scent as well. Aroma therapy anyone?

OH - almost forgot. If you're wondering how to get a SPINNY, or any of his relativese - go to KikkerLand's web site

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