About Mechanical Theatres

Sometimes my Mechanical Theatres create a space for you, my collaborist, to “stage” your favorite objects – be they small artworks, collections, or even botanical treasures.  Sometimes they are operated by pulling on a hanging handle(s) which open curtains to reveal the theatre space.  Other methods of activation include spinning a knob, or in one case, operating a cam assembly.  Wooden gears, small wheeled cars (some are dubbed cloud cars or bird cars), or objects that move in and out of windows accompany the movement of the curtain.

Other times the Theatres become more Story Boxes, telling a tale for you to interpret as the viewer.  These pieces will sometimes have storage for small special objects.

The Theatres are constructed out of solid wood except in instances where a rare piece of multi veneered plywood is used.  Alaskan Yellow Cedar is my wood of choice for it’s great carving  and stability characteristics.  I use some off the shelf metal hardware for the moving parts and do a lot of metal fabrication as well.

For coloration I use authentic milk paints which have a great flat finish.  I usually apply an initial undercoat color which shows through the top coat finish when it is sanded and burnished.

After making furniture for many years I took a different tact with my work and began focusing less on function.  These kinetic sculptures encompass many of my interests: folk art, engineering, circuses, birds, kinetic movement, roadside attractions, and woodcarving to name a few.  They started out with simple mechanisms but each new piece has become more complex.  I never know if they will work but so far they all have worked splendidly.

I live with my wife and our 11 year old Rat Terrier, Ralph, in Portland, Oregon.

Email me at:   thughespdx@yahoo.com