1.) So tell us a little about yourself, your project, organization, or company that you’ll be displaying at the maker faire

My name is Barton Gilley and I am a 29 year old local maker that is heavily influenced by the work of Jim Henson and Walt Disney. I am mainly fascinated by Disney’s audio animatronics and Jim Henson’s creature shop. I graduated from Lsu with a degree in sculpture and I currently work at my family’s business, Gilley’s Gallery. I am displaying two projects one of which is in progress. The completed project is a piranha plant from the original super Mario game. It is a cable controlled puppet that stands about 3′ tall. Two joysticks operate the motion of the character while one button actuates the jaw. The project was inspired by the chest burster scene from the movie Alien in which the creature was controlled by a similar mechanism. The second project is a full size working r2d2 replica. It is currently in progress but when completed it will hold a keg inside the body and dispense beer from a motion activated arm. This is my second time around for this project. The first one was successfully tested at several LSU football tailgates but has since started to fall apart as it was not built nearly as well as this one. The new r2 is made of fiberglass and plastic cast into silicone molds.

2.) What got you into making or creating? Have you always been a tinkerer?

I have always been a tinkerer. For as long as I can remember I’ve been taking things apart to see how they work. I was never very computer savvy but have always been fascinated with electronics, robotics and mechanical motion. When I was a kid I watched the movie short circuit over and over mesmerized by the main character, Number 5. The only reason I became a fan of Star Wars was for the robots. I also developed a fascination for creature animatronics from movies such as The Labyrinth and The Never Ending Story. I watched any “behind the scenes” or “making of” that came on tv. I had to see how those robotic puppets worked. After that my Teddy Ruxpin and other toys didn’t have a chance. They were all taken apart.

3.) How did you get started on your current project? How long have you been working on your current project?
The new r2 was started in 2013 and has been a long slow process because of the mold making, casting, and engineering processes that I’ve had to work through. The original r2 project started in 2010 with a Webber grill for a head and moved forward from there. The piranha plant project started about three weeks ago and was created for a local art show called ARTcade. It started with 20 laser cut discs and bicycle cables. I began by getting the mechanics to work correctly then I moved on to the exterior look of the piece.

4.) How can people find out more about your project, company, or organization?

If anyone has any question about my work they can email me at bartongilley@yahoo.com