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Internationally acclaimed, award winning
puppet, mask, and musical performances since 1979


Michael's Automata

Automatic Puppets/Figures worked by crank mechanism

Below are three examples of automata, each with a different style (natural wood, flat cartoon-like, and 3D painted,) all with handmade mechanisms, each telling a little story. At the bottom of the page is an example of a giant (12 foot tall) automata horse.

Want one? Unique, one of a kind automata make exceptional and memorable gifts or commemorations of events. Themes can be most anything that moves, from pets, to hobbies, sports, boudoir, etc. These hand created scuptures take time, so if you are interested, plan in advance. Depending on complexity, prices can range from a few hundred to $3000.00. Design ideas and budget should be explored with Michael. Contact him at mail@magicalmoonshine.org -

Dog Trick: Army Food/Home Cookin'


What's going on? My Dad had a trick with his Jack Russell where he would put down a treat and tell a story about how the dog didn't like army food, but liked home cooking. When he got to the part about "home cookin,'" the dog was then allowed to get the treat. This is the theme of this automata. The dog trembles and has "false starts" while he has to wait to get the treat.

Andy's Lunch Break

What's going on? You turn the crank and the cat (Bucky) tries to steal Andy's lunch. This was made for my brother in law, who is a carpenter who always seems to be working for rich clients who have fabulous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, so the wall behind him is wallpapered in $20.00 bills, and the view out the window is fantastic. His cat (who does not go to work with him) has the reputation of stealing food off the counter very rapidly (and large hunks, as well!) The wall that conceals Bucky says "Bucky's Fort, Keep Out" (only with cat spelling.)

Steve's Fishing Trip (in the Red Herring)

What's going on? One summer when I visited my brother, Steve, he had just bought a used motor for his fishing boat and wanted to take me out fishing, but during the whole visit he was not able to get the motor to work. This little machine commemorates the event. When the crank on the side is turned, the figure pulls the starter rope 3 times then rests. Meanwhile, fish are swimming under the water and jumping out in front of the boat. A seagull is stealing his sandwich off of his cooler, and his fishing hook is caught on the handle of a treasure chest full of gold that a crab has almost severed with its claw.

Giant, 12 Foot Tall Automata Horse

What's going on? The horse, part automata, part puppet, has legs that walk with an automata mechanism. Added to that are puppeteer operated movements such as rearing up and head nodding and turning. See more on the Giant Puppet Webpage. Below is a 10 minute documentary on the design and making of this parade mechanical puppet. The real details on the automata mechanism start at about 5 minutes in.


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