Archives for the month of: August, 2014

Last week I did three workshops as part of the Festival of Performing Objects. In those  workshops the participants used my Dede puppets to come up with an impromptu play and then acted the story out. During the process props have to be created on the fly. The story might end up totally different than originally anticipated. The film I put up today, was the one we did last. The group did not know each other, which of course adds another dimension to the workshop. So it took a while until they came up with a subject they all could relate to. Of all three workshop this one was certainly the most structured story and thought through from from beginning to end.

Normally I would take around 200 pictures during a workshop. In this one I got barely 90, so it is a bit of a stretch. But i think the result isn’t too bad.

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This week is probably the busiest week I will have all year. It started off on Monday with finishing one puppet workshop. I had done a six week course at Toi Ora, an art trust that works in the mental health sector. This is definitely the area I want to move into. Unfortunately the course didn’t quite work as I envisaged it. I liked the students and the settings, but there were also areas that weren’t sitting right, though I think my blog isn’t the forum to divulge what didn’t work. In the course the participants made their own characters and came up with the story and we celebrated the uplaod of our little film with a red carpet event. It’s a very short film, so we only had a very little red carpet.

And here  is the film

chech witch

The picture today shows a hand-crafted czech witch, which is on display at the Festival. I have my eyes on her as I see myself in her, but I can’t afford the little cutey. Pity.

This week I will give two talks. One at the gallery about “puppets in today’s world” and the other at school about my artwork. I prepared both talks on Saturday, writing down minutely what I want to say. though I know very well its impossible for me to stick to a script.  As usual I will digress on the day. On the slightest cue from the audience I am off in a tangent. Though I find writing down speeches a brilliant exercise to focus on what I am doing and condense my thoughts into easy to digest sentences. The talk I will deliver to the students will be mainly inspirational and only in the end I will touch on my own pathway. The key message is that in my opinion there are two approaches to be recognised as artist: Either by your work or by your personality. Ultimately you want to be heard in the world of chatter. If you are aiming to be recognised by your work you need to find your style: your voice. If you want to be recognised for who you are you basically have to make noise, be outrageous in one way or another. Of course nothing is as clear-cut… but there is a chance for the quieter ones amongst us.


accordion player

This is another shot from the opening. I love these two. They look like they have been playing together forever. But no, it was an impromptu performance. The man on the left is Fred and the little guy is one of John Rew’s puppets. The hand at the top belongs to John. I will have to write about him another time. He did these amazing puppet circus performances on the day. He is such a diehard puppeteer… While on break from the circus performances his puppets still mingled with the audience.

I was meant to write something about the Festival of Performing Objects. The Festival is really well received and we get a lot of attention. We even got a little write-up in THE art magazine of New Zealand. So I am taking the short-cut again and just publish what they have published.



skeleton Jonathon Acorn

The opening yesterday was an absolute hit. We had around 500 people of all ages through the gallery. Each and everyone lingering for a while and having a close look at the puppets and watching the performances. The day started off with market day, where kids could make their own simple puppets and we had two puppeteers taking turns in perfroming. The picture above shows Jonathon Acorn’s Skeleton having a break from singing and shaking his bones :). Jonathon is a well-known Auckland busker and it was so fantastic to have him perfroming with his the Skeleton in front of the Gallery yesterday. If you missed him yesterday… You can find him on most sunny days in downtown Auckland :).

skeleton Jonathon Acorn-2

FoPO Exhibition-4

The Festival of Performing Objects is opening tomorrow. It is an all day event for me. We have Market Day from 11am to 2pm with buskers and market stalls and puppet making for kids. Then later from 3:30 to 5:30 we have the exhibition opening with the artists attending. It was a very busy week setting up the exhibition, but Kim and I are very excited and pleased with the outcome. It looks amazing! As far as we know it is the biggest collection of puppets in New Zealand since the 1980s. What an achievement.

The picture shows Dragon by Norbert Hausberg, a Wellingtonian puppeteer with 30 years experience. Unfortunately, we only have his puppets as he himself is otherwise engaged. But his puppets are certainly something!

wooden spoons

At the Festival of Performing Objects we are going to have a Kid’s zone in the Gallery and we hope that the little visitors will take to an impromptu play. I bought a packet of googly eyes for $2 at the Salvation Army Shop, and the wooden spoons in the Everything-is-50%- off-sale at the 2-Dollar-Shop. My ethical conscience is cringing at the price, but as I am living on flour and water at the moment, I told it to shut up! For my workshops I usually make a trip to the North Shore Resource Centre to get material. This is a really good volunteer organisation that my friend Cath put me on to. They collect leftovers, recycled or surplus material and you can get a big bag of all sorts of goodies to create puppets (or other artworks) for a dirt cheap price.  The most expensive part of these characters are the squishy noses made from disposable ear plugs. Unfortunately, they only had orange ones in the hardware store.

Anyway, I got carried away embellishing them. The idea was that the wooden spoons should be really simple so that they are easy to clean. Ah well, the handles are still easy to wipe down and that is where you hold them.