September Grab Bag

A round up of links, videos and articles we highlighted on Twitter this month: 

See #1. Photo from The Independent.

See #1. Photo from The Independent.

  1. A huge animatronic bear appeared on the streets of London this summer to protest drilling in the Arctic.
  2. The living doll artist in this article loves it when people ask “Is he real or unreal?”
  3. The otherworldly sculpture of our favorite artist Shaun Tan will seen be on view in this new book. If only we were going to Australia sometime soon!
  4. In a perfect world, we would collaborate with artist Jonathan Latiano to make some puppet dolphins, along the same line as this exhibit.
  5. Fair warning, this video short from France about shadow puppet artist and animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger is profoundly moving and may make you cry. You can read more about Reiniger’s life and work on our blog.
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SAUDADE Process Video

Saudade7This video contains some of the various pieces of the process it took to create Saudade: building shadow puppets, experimenting with movement on the various screens and finally the moving crankie and puppets in the finished piece. We hope you enjoy it!

 

Building a Shadow Puppet Joint

Saudade7We occasionally get questions about how we create our shadow puppets for shows like Saudade, so here is a short video with the steps for making a joint out of fishing line. Genna Davidson explains the process, using a lighter, awl and scissors. Hopefully this will be useful to those of you making puppets at home!

 

Video: Building Saudade

Saudade7The puppets for Saudade are designed by Katherine Fahey, a Baltimore-based artist and puppeteer. They are cut from poster board and pieces are connected with fishing line joints and operated with either wooden or metal rods. In this short video, I’m creating a puppet of a teacher character. It’s a process that takes a lot of time, patience and precision with an X-acto knife.

Puppets Like Football Too!

Rehearsal puppet put together and strung on a control!

Rehearsal puppet put together and strung on a control!

I created this rehearsal puppet for Malevolent Creatures about a month ago, with no idea that he would become such a fun tool for improvisation. Throughout our rehearsals, whenever there was a break, someone would pick him up, give him a funny voice and start a conversation. Eventually we decided that (outside of the world of the play) he was French. And since the World Cup is in full swing, it was inevitable that the puppet would get pulled into our many arguments about who was going to win the day’s games. Clearly, puppets love football just as much as people. Here is a short video of our puppet explaining his views, as performed by Elizabeth Dapo.

November Grab Bag

Moses from THE TABLE. Photo by Lorna Palmer and Xue Qian

Moses from THE TABLE. Photo by Lorna Palmer and Xue Qian

1. Last week, Pat and I got to see a fantastic show by Blind Summit Theatre from England. It was called The Table and consisted of three puppeteers and one puppet telling the story of Moses, along with many clever asides. Really amazing work and the company website includes a set of tips for puppeteers which are also great.

2. A fascinating article about marionettes built by Ralph Kipniss, an artist I had never heard of before. While the Kickstarter campaign mentioned in the article did not reach its goal, there are still people working to raise the money to find a home for this amazing collection and preserve it for future generations. You can find out more and help out by donating here.

3. We made lots of puppets for Cabinets of Kismet out of various kinds of paper, but one kind we didn’t really use was tissues. Maybe if we had seen this video by Yuki Ariga, we would have:

4. Last but not least, yesterday was Thanksgiving, which of course means the puppets that had the biggest audience were the Macy’s Parade balloons. Did you know that Tony Sarg, who first came up with the idea for those books, was a puppeteer? Here is a VERY short clip of him with one of his graceful marionettes. The balloons aren’t nearly so graceful, but they are a lot bigger.

Website Update

Shaper (Jose Pineda) and Creator (Bob Sheire) bring animals to life in FABULAS MAYAS. Photo by Lonnie Dale Tague.

Shaper (Jose Pineda) and Creator (Bob Sheire) bring animals to life in FABULAS MAYAS.             Photo by Lonnie Dale Tague.

Just a quick note here on some changes around the website that you might want to take a look at! We have new video up on the Cabinets of Kismet page, so if you didn’t get to see the show, check that out for some highlights. If you didn’t get to see our show Fabulas Mayas, it now has its own page, with photos.  We have some new additions to our Friends and Family page; people who have great work and cool projects that you can support. Finally, on our Education page there are new descriptions of the workshops we offer to schools and community groups. If you are interested in having us come to your school, please send us an email!