Robot Profiles : Captain Ginger


This is Captain Ginger. As I was putting him together I started to paint the story in my mind ….a pudgy little kid with his bottom lip rolled up over the top. He’s running around the back yard with a piece of cloth that he found. He put some strings on it and it became a cape.

Now he’s jumping up over the picnic table and bench in the backyard. “Look at me mom! Look at me, I can fly” And as mom looks out from the kitchen window, she says “Sweetie, what a great cape! Of course you can fly!” 


There are some aspects of him that make me think about the very end of Iron Giant when the giant is flying up and you hear Hogarth saying “You are who you choose to be”, then the giant says “Superman”.

Capt. Ginger was sold at the Boys and Girls Club Winter Craft Fair to a delightful older gentleman in his 90’s. He had been looking at him for 10-15 minutes; turning him over and studying all the parts/pieces. Then he turned to me, with the biggest smile on his face and said he’d like to take him home now. It totally made my day how happy this man was.

I can now picture that Capt. Ginger is sitting next to this man’s chair in his living room and each time he looks over there’s a lil’ sparkle in his eye thinking about when he was a little kid running through the yard with a cape. Man, I love what I do.

Talks with Robots: Origins of the Robot Profiles

robot familyWhen I’m out and about meeting with people, a lot of times people will speak about my robots as if they are alive –  “He’s cute”, “What’s her name?”…truth be told, sometimes I think that they’re alive myself! I do see them come together in the disjointed pieces on my bench and find myself telling little anecdotes about them as I’m putting them together. If you’ve seen some of my pieces recently, you know I have been starting to put together biographies for all of my Shopbots. I see the personalities in each of them.

Sometimes people call me an artist, a creator, a maker, a welder or just an all-out weirdo – truth be told, I think I’m a little of each. The one thing I am in addition to all those things is a storyteller and I can even enable you to be a storyteller too. Look at my pieces and ask yourself “What did that part used to be?” “Where did this come from”? Sure, you can look at the parts but the real story is in the whole creation. Begin to imagine what the story is behind where each of those pieces came from or now that they are together – what they’re going to be doing in the future?

Over the new few months I’m going to start a series called “Robot Profiles” and tell you the background behind my robots. Hope you’ll enjoy the stories as much as I enjoyed making the Shopbots themselves. Now quick, go, before they hear you!

Robot Profiles : Shinda

Shinda is named for Shindaiwa, a global company that makes outdoor power equipment (leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, edgers etc.) that started in 1955 in Japan with a chain saw.Shinda

I got this weed whacker at a tag sale from a fellow tinkerer, he had customized it into a boat trolling motor…prop and all! Now this weed whacker has been reinvented 2x since its original form.trimmer

The head is from the motor, the muffler makes up the body and one arm is the piston. I made the legs from the motor shafts. I wanted to make a piece mostly out of one item I had, so other than 3 pieces (the door lock arm, wrench for a hand and the bobbin eyes) – it’s all the Shindaiwa trimmer.

If the people that made this could see the many transformations their work has had and what is has now become, I’m sure they would be happy. I know I am.


Robot Profiles: What goes into a name?

Alpha or Άλφα is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. It is also a military radio code (A- Alpha, B – Bravo, C- Charlie etc.) which pays homage to the original owner of many of these parts.

In English, the noun alpha is often used as a synonym for beginning and in zoology, alpha is used to name the dominant individual in a wolf or dog pack or more broadly in the social hierarchy – pack leaders.

A new beginning and a pack leader? We must be talking about Alpha-1 my newest ShopBot. Dancing around on telephone poles, playing video games and go for walks with other robots are just a few of his past times now…and his favorite hobby is going to the salon for a hair do!