Like many people, my first introduction to the world of contemporary automata came with a visit to the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre. I stumbled upon this delightful shop purely by chance while on a visit to the United Kingdom in 1989. Located in Covent Garden in London, the CMT was an intriguing amalgam of museum, shop, and penny arcade, displaying a dazzling array of mechanical toys. I was enchanted.
I started collecting contemporary automata about 6 years later and struggled to educate myself about mechanics and movement. I made my first original piece in 2001. The collection has grown to over 90 artist-made pieces. An exhibition featuring 24 pieces was held at the Chazen Museum of Art, Madison Wisconsin, in 2010.
For the last several years my creative energies have been focused almost entirely upon automata. I continue to present lectures on automata and conduct workshops in automata construction.
The Flasher 2001
After a childhood in Texas and Kansas, I attended the University of New Mexico, receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1963. From there I entered the graduate program in jewelry and metalsmithing at Southern Illinois University to study with Brent Kington. After graduating in 1965, I began my almost 40-year teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. While there, I served as assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts for three years before being recruited to the University of Arizona in 1972. Just prior to my retirement in 2003, I designed and created the University of Arizona ceremonial mace. I am currently Professor Emeritus and reside in Tucson, Arizona.
My work has been widely exhibited across the country and has garnered numerous awards. Other professional activities include organizing and directing three national competitive metal exhibitions, collectively called The Copper Shows, a term as Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Swain School of Design, and the presidency of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.