Archives for the month of: May, 2016


We had a really tough weekend at the Dede household with lots of crying and desperation. Devil was frustrated. His “Freeday” didn’t turn out as he expected. One of the Instagram readers suspected that it is just another devilish ruse and who knows how much you really have pay for it in the end. The reader made a good point. Devil has no idea how other people perceive him. Of course, he thinks he is the nicest Dede on the planet. We won’t burst his bubble, but it does explain why his generous offer wasn’t taken up in droves. He has kindly extended the offer until the 5th of June 2016. And no, it isn’t a devilish ruse. The book really is free (go to and enter the code VV39S before you check out to get your free copy).


One of our followers,  Jessie Martinovic in Australia, downloaded the book and sent us a wonderful message (see comment in the previous post). Thank you so much Jessie for this amazing feedback, it made my day. Unfortunately it was too late to lift Devil’s spirits.  You know how it is, once you are in this downward spiral, you go down, down, down until you hit the ground. So Mouse and Devil, who are usually an excellent team, sat down together and cried their little hearts out. Each of them tried to outdo the other as to who is the poorer puppet. In the end Mouse pointed out that it is dire for them all as I have set up another instagram account called beyond_the_dedes. I won’t tell you what Devil called me on instagram, but I can assure you, he wasn’t the nicest puppet on the planet then :)) I knew very well they won’t like it. They really want to have my full attention. But I can’t help it, I do other stuff as well! At least now we have proper separation.


Yesterday, the benevolent King had enough of their antics. He looked at the sorry pair and remarked that it doesn’t help anyone when they drown themselves in a sea of snot-drenched hankies. That made them think and when Chambermaid came along this morning to clean up their mess, they listened to her suggestion.


Once she had picked up all the hankies, Chambermaid dragged a big piece of fabric into the room and suggested they should make a theatre curtain from the material and run another Super Dede Competition. The 2016 version. Devil wasn’t entirely convinced. He knows how much work it is and they would also need support from the readers to make it work. But don’t forget, a minute earlier he was still very depressed, and just putting the idea to the readers is something of a victory for Chambermaid. She of course dreams of becoming a contestant and that could mean “good bye snotty hankies for ever!”

Mouse doesn’t have an opinion. As usual, she just wants to be busy. Faster than you can say boo she got her clipboard out to make notes about how the whole thing could work across two platforms: Instagram and the blog.

So what do you think?



Mouse had taken on the promotion of The Super Dede Competition ebook, despite she has no clue about marketing. She did it basically because no-one else held their hand up (as usual), but somehow the book needs to be advertised. She was adamant it had to be an Instagram promotion, as the Dedes seem to be going well there. So she spent a day researching and then jumped onto the computer to create a regram ad with popular Chambermaid as the poster girl. Devil, who used to be the spokes person, poo-pooed her attempt and said  no-one would regram an ad for a book of the value of US$3.99. Most of the Dede followers on Instagram have a particular aesthetic on their site and such a regram ad would stick out like a sore thumb. Mouse was still thinking about an appropriate response, when Harvey, the rabbit came along and said the book should be free anyway. This was too much for Mouse and she had one of her break-downs, that unfortunately happen all too often as she works far too hard.  Devil could see:  Yes, Harvey had a point, but so had Mouse.  The book should be free to our followers, but we cannot do everything for free forever. At this point he volunteered to take over the ebook promotion. After all he used to be the MC for the “Super Dede Competition” and if the book sells it is in his best interest. His solution was to make the ebook free until Saturday, the 28th of May 2016.

So, head over to and get your free copy. Enter the code VV39S before you check out. 

Of course if you want to support the Dedes feel free to buy the book. If you like the Dedes, tell everyone about it. And if you don’t like it,  keep your mouth shut. :)

“Really!” said Mouse, “isn’t that obvious? Do we have to say that? Oh, …I hate marketing!”

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Yes, the Dedes are back to normal. Unfortunately part of their normality is their struggle for survival. They don’t want to have anything for free, but for some of them it is very difficult. Look, for example, at Rob D Light. He has been looking for a job for ever and lives under a blanket of newspapers. His old one is ripped and he gratefully grabbed the discarded ransom note because it was glued on 120gsm paper. That will be a bit warmer than the thin newsprint in the approaching New Zealand winter.

SuperDedeCompetition_CoverMouse said Cool Cat should do some work to get noticed, but that is easier said than done. Mouse works relentlessly. She is a workaholic to be precise, but does she earn a decent income? No! She has put together the Artist’s Survival Cookbook which is available in print, and just two days ago, she put the latest publication The Super Dede Competition as an ebook on smashwords. The problem is the marketing. Not one Dede is an expert at that.

So, Mouse has taken charge of this now as well. She put the price on US$3.99, which for an ebook might appear a bit dear, but she argued it should be viewed as a donation to the Dedes. They don’t want to have anything for free, though it is obvious they can’t survive on thin air. “Look at it” she said defending her decision. “It is the price of a cup of coffee”. Then she went on to explain where the money is going. $1 from each book goes to Rob D Light and another $1 goes to L’Artiste so he can continue his carefree work. The rest that is not withheld by Smashwords for administration will go to repay debts the Dedes have accumulated in recent years. Originally she wanted to put it in the kitty for a rainy day, but no, it is better to get rid of debts first the others said.

So here we are: click on the image, buy the book, donate to the Dedes and tell all your friends about it. The Dedes will be eternally grateful.



The Dedes are back to their old antics. The exhibition opening is over, mother’s day with all its warm and fuzzies is over. Remember in my last post I revealed I particularly like the cow, as she has my eyes, and Devil as he was the first puppet. Two of the lesser known Dedes, Magician and Eve L. took issue with the fact that I have favourites and decided to do something about it. Though they didn’t compare notes of what they are going to do and each of them approached the issue from a different angle.


Eve L. requested some old newspapers and packaging tape and disappeared into the studio rustling about all day. The next day she appeared and announced that she had figured out I obviously liked puppets with horns, therefore she adorned herself with a homemade contraption so I would love her more. Mhm. Interesting! I have to say her sample data was a little too small. She obviously looked at one post only. If she had followed the blog more carefully she would realise that there are plenty of puppets without horns who feature strongly.


Anyway Cool Cat looked at Eve L and said it is not a good idea to do things only to be loved and accepted. Right she looked pretty silly, didn’t she.


When Magician had seen the newspaper he had the idea to write a ransom note to the artist (that would be me). His announcement to do this and the proof of taking action (the picture of him fetching the scissors) had the most views on the Dede Instagram site so far. I have to ponder what this is telling me.


Anyway he demanded equal treatment of all puppets and delivered the note anonymously. Though it didn’t quite work as the hat was a give away.  I was a bit confused. You might know that one of my favourite signs is the saltire (x) as it is very ambiguous. I looked at the note and wondered, if Magician is not able to sign his name or if he sent three kisses with the note.


Before I could make up my mind, Milky Bar Devil grabbed the note and ripped it up. Remember the last we saw of Milky Bar Devil was when he was ordered to read a big pile of philosophy books. And sure enough, the reading had an impact on him. He said: “Rubbish, you don’t need to treat everyone the same, you should treat everyone fairly, right?”


In the meantime Cool Cat, who is – just like any other cat – far too proud to join the crowd, asked what one HAS to do to feature in any of the Dedes stories.  Mouse, who happened to walk past just said: “Do some work”

Yes, you see, everything is back to normal.




I am often asked how the Dede puppets came about and I think now is an appropriate time to tell the story as it was Mother’s Day last Sunday.

Here is the short version of the story:

When I was little, my mother used to tell us kids about a devil hand puppet she once made but left behind when moving house. I never saw the puppet but she talked about it with such passion that in my mind it must have been the most beautiful hand puppet ever. Some decades later I tried to get rid of a rather large pile of newspaper and I was quite surprised when I suddenly had a very strong desire to make a devil hand puppet. My mother and I didn’t have a particularly good relationship and when I started making the puppets I realised I was about the same age my mother was when she told me about her puppet. Anyway, the devil turned out beautifully – even if I do say so myself – and I continued making more. Within a week I had a cast of fifteen and they were received very favourably by my friends. At this stage my mother was still alive and could see pictures of the first puppets and hear how well they were received. Sadly she passed away shortly after. I can but view the puppets as my mother’s legacy to me. There isn’t a day when I don’t think about her and develop a better understanding of her life and her motivations.

In the picture above Cash Cow, who has my eyes, holds a picture of my mother. Can you see the similarity?

Below is my very first Dede puppet, Devil. He will always have a special place in my heart, even though I am sure he has nothing in common with my mother’s devil.



Pig and Professor love the arts and I had to promise them long time ago that I will take them to the gallery as soon as possible so they can have a look at all the wonderful works. In the next two weeks all the participating artists are taking turns in manning the gallery and it was my turn last Monday. I will be there tomorrow and next Wednesday again, but Pig and Professor didn’t want to wait any longer. So here I can show you their first impressions. There is more good work on display in the gallery, so if you are in Auckland and in the neighbourhood of Mt Eden swing by and judge for yourself.  You enter through a narrow door and go down a flight of stairs.  The gallery is on two floors below street level.

When the two Dedes came down the stairs, Pig stopped in his tracks and turned in awe to Professor “This space is amazing” he whispered “We should have volunterred to take part in the installation.”  The images you see in the background here are by Sonja Gardien. It is a photographic series reminding us of the impact of climate change.


Opposite Sonja’s image are Stacey Simpkin’s photographs of some of the old baches (holiday homes) on Rangitoto Island, a very well-known volcano located just outside the Auckland harbour entrance with a wonderful checkered history.


Here Pig and Professor move towards Dorina Jotti’s amazing Photograph “Cross-Referenced”. This snapshot doesn’t do the image justice at all, as the blues look too light and washed out. In reality it is of a rich and dark colour, which is very difficult to reproduce with simple devices. The photograph was craftily printed on a ten-colour printer.

At the top right you see a display by contemporary jeweler Sarah Walker-Holt. Once again, the snapshot doesn’t do the work justice. Art is best viewed in original.  :)


Another fantastic work by Dorina Jotti. This is a zen meditation exercise, an enso, which is a circle drawn in one uninhibited brushstroke to express the moment when the mind is ready to let the body express.


The wonderful series “Brotherhood” was created by Kirsten Weir and depicts members of the Hell’s Angels in their headquarters. Pig didn’t want to get any closer, as he knows that Kirsten has to seek approval each time she wants to exhibit the images and Pig doesn’t want to get her into trouble. But you can believe us, these images are striking.


The deer is another one of Carly van Winkel’s photographs. Her series is about animals that are raised purely to be released in front of hunters to be shot. Sad!

Carly is an excellent photographer and you might remember that she took the images at the launch of “The Artist’s Survival Cookbook”. If you want to learn more about how to take breathtaking photographs… Carly and I are running an “Intro to Photography” workshop at Studio 541 in Auckland on 4th June. She also does tell some hilareous story’s about the capture of her hunting photos.


On the bottom floor you will find a series by Alice Ng showing dilapidated buildings in the Auckland area. There is a special aesthetic in such images, isn’t there?


And then of course there are the Dedes with their mobile phones. Professor and Pig were so excited when they finally discovered their mates in the last room (they requested to be placed as far away from the entrance as possible) so they can do some work. Even now, they hardly looked up. That was a bit of a disappointment for the visitors.


This was just a quick walk around the gallery. There is more work by Vicky te Puni, Julia Glover, Toni Mosley, Yvonne Shaw, Trish Campbell, Melanie Tollemache and Jessie Rolston  It’s worth the trip.






I was lying in my last post! It wasn’t all hard work. Before we dived into the hot phase of the last preparations for the exhibition, L’Artiste wanted to have a little time out. To get away from the others he suggested a road trip up North. As he can’t drive, (he is too short to reach the pedals)  L’Artiste usually keeps himself busy with an ongoing project he calls “Driveby shooting.” It is pretty easy in New Zealand. You just have to hold the camera out the window, press the button and presto, you have an amazing photograph. No, honestly, there is a message in his project. :) This time he used the mobile phone for the first time to take the pictures and he found out it is much more diffcult than with his trusted SLR. Anyway, here are the images from from the last trip. They were taken around Broadwood in the Far North.

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