Intro to Professional Puppet Building
What you'll learn
- Use a simple building method to fabricate a professional style hand/rod puppet.
- Reduce toxic fumes in puppet building with alternate gluing techniques.
- Learn best practices in handling and working with various puppet building materials.
- Create an engaging character for practice or performance.
- Assemble materials and tools needed. Best to view tools and materials videos before proceeding and decide on alternates if you already have some of the tools.
A comprehensive introduction to the tools and materials used in puppet building and creating one from a simple pattern for beginners and a quick easy build for experienced builders. Building puppets and creating shows for my puppet company Up In Arms over the years, I've learned how to make engaging, functioning, professional-style puppets. I like to teach new builders to simplify the process, allow yourself to make mistakes and enjoy the journey as I break down my methods in an easy-to-learn course. Step by step, we'll explore the tools, materials and best practices in building your very own professional-style hand/rod puppet. Students are provided downloadable pattern PDFs for both US and EU standard paper sizes. While suggestions are made in what tools and materials to use, students are encouraged to be creative in using alternate methods and materials. All of the building methods are covered including cutting and gluing foam, machine and hand sewing fabric, installation of snaps and the proper placement of eyes and attaching a tongue and hair. When using toxic materials like contact cement, students are always encouraged to use proper protection which includes wearing a fume rated respirator mask, working in a well ventilated area and using protective disposable gloves.
Who this course is for:
- The beginner or novice builder can pick up some skills, learn 'best practices' and build a relatively simple, professional-style, hand/rod puppet with step by step instruction. For advanced builders, it's a great pattern to have to make a quick practice puppet.
I was influenced by the puppet genius of Jim Henson at a young age and went on to perform my first public puppet show at 11 years old. A performer in local theatre, I enjoyed roles on and off stage for over 30 years. Discovering puppet building in 2006, I partnered with local theatre and art centers teaching students the basics of puppet performance and puppet building techniques. I've studied puppet manipulation with Noel MacNeal and Marty Robinson, both performers with Sesame Workshop, along with former Henson performer Michael Earl. I formed my puppet company Up In Arms in 2012 which gained notoriety for our premiere production “Helping Drew”, the anti-bullying puppet musical. We have since performed our catalog of shows nationally.