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Friday, March 03, 2017
By Carol Svec

I have been a fan of Amy Flynn and her FOBOTS for years, and I finally had a chance to visit her. I’m too old to go into a mushy fan-girl act, but I couldn’t help myself. Amy is awesome.

Fobots are Found Object roBOTs—sort of like robots, but artwork instead of functional. Amy makes these wonders out of bits and pieces of…well, anything. She created the Balance fobot for me to celebrate my upcoming book. It is constructed from an old bird food tin, pool ball, croquet ball, sash lock, hose fittings, candy molds, toggle bolts, and a lamp cap. Amy hunts for her treasures in junk piles, flea markets, yard sales, and eBay for the various body parts of each fobot. Somehow, her artist’s eye finds the beauty in those objects, and she imbues each fobot with its own personality. You can see more of her work on her website

As it turns out, Amy and I are almost neighbors, so I was able to pick up my newest fobot (I now have three) on the type of 70-degrees-in-February day that defines why we moved to North Carolina. Amy and her very cool husband welcomed me into her home/workshop and I felt thunderstruck. It was like seeing Santa’s workshop. Any little toggle-bit or ornament you can imagine, she had it. Take a look at the photos. There were organized drawers and piles of “found objects” everywhere, more than my eyes could take in at first. Little pull-trays with labels like “insects,” “dogs,” “bees,” and “cherubs.” Three rooms of this stuff, and she can put her hands on exactly what she wants immediately. My brain just doesn’t work like that. 

If her work looks familiar, her Fobots were featured as set design on an episode of Ugly Betty, lining one of the hallways. And they had been sold for a time at Anthropologie. Plus, Amy tours art fairs throughout the country. In other words, she and her artwork have been around.

These intricate art pieces fill me with joy. Yes, they are beautiful and quirky to look at, but it's more than that. When I look at a fobot, I can--for a moment--start to see the exquisite connections made in the artist's brain. And is there anything better than spending a brief moment inside someone else's thought process? 

I think it's a perfect way to announce and celebrate my upcoming book, Balance: A Dizzying Journey Through the Science of Our Most Delicate Sense. Thanks, Amy!  

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