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--This was an incredible honor to meet and be privileged to learn some Karakuri techniques with Tamaya-san. Here we are in his studio taking a break between shooting the documentary.

Tamaya Shobei IX with Karakuri enthusiast Justin Miles



I'm a jack of all trades artist who graduated from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1996, majoring in classical animation. I have a varied skill set; sculpting, painting, drawing, sewing, woodworking, photography, etc.


Over the years I've found I am more fascinated with another kind of motion other than animation, the mechanical type. I started building automata roughly 15 years ago. Some builds are quick, others take years. This is because, like most automata artists, I am constantly trying to improve on my previous efforts. 


Related to automata, I also have a keen interest in Japanese craft, and in particular Karakuri Ningyo. In 2010 I visited Nagoya, Japan and had a hands-on experience studying this specific kind of Ningyo, or mechanical doll, that is called a Chahakobi Ningyo.

In June of 2017 I was invited to Nagoya, Japan, to be in the hour long Tokyo TV program, 'Who Wants to Come To Japan?' There I met and studied (briefly) with Japan Cultural Icon, Tamaka Shobei IX, who is considered one of Japan's leading Karakuri experts and restorers. 

I have also met talented wood sculptor Iwakura Ryosenn, and have visited with him in Inami, Toyoma. This town is famous for amazing wood carvings and a source of superior artisans. 

Over the years I have been teased that I should share my creations. I hope you enjoy and get a chuckle out of what you see...

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