Pythia’s Fortune Telling Cabinet

A project that I’ve wanted to do for awhile has been a rebuild of a vintage capsule machine into a wooden fortune telling cabinet. I finally decided to do so for my Apothecary show at Stranger Factory!

I began with a Victor 77 machine that I got off eBay for pretty cheap, although the shipping was high and the machine needed a bit of work. It was really easy to take apart, though.

The rest of the work was relatively straightforward – I kept the base intact, but decided to rebuild the top part as a pretty standard crate. I used mostly scrap wood from my wood pile, although the very front is newly bought poplar. This was not a difficult carpentry build, although I’ll admit that fairly simple math stumped me a few times.

This was largely a project to use up the vintage findings I’d been hoarding in my studio. šŸ˜‰ I’d been holding on to this yellow knob for almost a decade after picking it up in the clearance bin at a vintage architectural salvageĀ place.

I also reused the glass from the original capsule machine! I liked the “50c” sticker in the front.

The entire thing was stained(dark walnut, I think…), and I painted an ouroboros and a three eyed rat on the sides. The quote on the ouroboros end is from one of Plato’s accounts of Socrates – it seemed appropriate for a fortune telling cabinet.

Finally, I mounted an alien Hand-of-Glory(a leftover sculpt from the Last Apothecary installation at Burning Man) inside the cabinet itself, and added a vintage edison bulb!

It was then filled with fortunes that were mostly adapted from the PythiaBot generator! Here is an example of a few of them, taken from Instagram(from friendsĀ who came to the show!)

This was a really fun project to do, and I’m really happy with how it turned out! Sadly, vintage capsule machines are a bit finicky and I ended up modifying it to be a free play machine instead of taking quarters, but it does still function! It’s hanging out at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque until the end of April as part of my show, but should still be there afterwards!

Here are a few more pictures of this goofy thing:

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