Whether it’s the brightly colored and comforting citizens of Sesame Street, or the terrifying and deadly creatures on display in Jurassic Park, everyone has a favorite TV show or movie that was helped brought to life by the art of puppetry and animatronics.
Local aspiring puppeteers and filmmakers are in luck, as they needn’t travel all the way to Hollywood to find someone to help bring their creations to life. Real life movie magic is being made right here in Clark County.
Raiden Gorby and his wife, Andrea Gorby, are the owners and operators of Luna’s Puppets, an animatronic and creature-creation studio at 1315 S.E. Grace Ave. 112 in Battle Ground.
Together, the team works to create puppets, animatronics and creature effects for films, commercials, music videos and live performances. Raiden is the lead designer, coming up with the creative design and constructing the shape and form of the creations; Andrea is the seamstress, assembling the creatures’ felt, fur and clothing.
In addition to selling custom-made puppets and animatronic kits, Luna’s Puppets also does work for a lot of high-profile media projects and performances, including designing and creating the giant rat character Ratso that appears in Katy Perry’s Las Vegas residency, as well as building the animatronics for former first lady Michelle Obama’s Netflix series “Waffle and Mochi.”
What has now become a thriving business originally started with just a couple of pieces of felt, and a lot of love for a very special someone.
Luna’s Puppets began back in 2008, when Gorby lost his job as a machinist due to the recession. As a stay-at-home dad, Gorby wanted to bring joy to his then-3-year-old daughter, Luna. The pair went out to the local craft store for some fabric and foam, and together they began creating their own puppet characters.
Gorby and his wife quickly realized that these new fuzzy friends could help bring in some extra money and set up an Etsy page to start selling their unique creations.
The puppets were an instant success. The Gorbys grew their business into the thriving workshop it is today, named after the little girl who started it all.
While Battle Ground and Hollywood may seem like worlds apart, Clark County has the advantage of being a short plane ride, or even a quick drive, away from some of the most prevalent filming locations in North America.
Being in proximity to Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and Vancouver, B.C., the Gorby family has best of both worlds, getting to take part in the glitz and glamour of big budget film projects while still enjoying the comfort of their hometown.
“My wife and I have lived in Battle Ground since we were kids, we love being able to really know everyone and really care about our community,” Gorby said. “I could never love Los Angeles more than I love Battle Ground; it’s made me who I am today.”
For those interested in learning more about Luna’s Puppets, or looking to have their own unique creations brought to life by Gorby and his team, they can be found online at www.lunaspuppets.com.