Archives for category: Book Launch

Dietlind Wagner dedepuppet and bun

Doesn’t the saying go: “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”. When the puppets got really desperate, they came up with the idea to make a book full of recipes with flour and water: The Artist’s Survival  Cookbook. The book is now available on CreateSpace and this Saturday we are celebrating the launch with a pop-up kitchen at the Methodist Church in Birkenhead. It is an interactive launch and the visitors can try their hand at a recipe from the book. I still have a lot to prepare and I have no idea how it will go, but that is the fun of it :)

devil hammock

I have started to prepare for my book launch, which will be a pop-up kitchen. I think this is very appropriate for The Artist’s Survival Cookbook. I have been running around to find a suitable venue that I can hire without breaking the bank. (I am back on a serious flour and water diet and unfortunately I can’t pay my dues in buns and doughnuts). There are gazillions of self-published books out there and everybody who has ever published a book can confirm, the most difficult part is the marketing. Particularly when you are a hermit, as a lot of artists are. But in the meantime I have sold some copies via CreateSpace. It is so exciting, when you log in and you see for the first time that the 0 has turned into real a number!

Though I still have to finish my Pecha Kucha presentation that describes why I am playing with puppets. Here we are at slide number 9:

When I first started I with puppets, I was particularly ingtruiged by their completeness. They are viusal, sculptures, actors, storytellers all rolled up in one.  Puppetry has been an anarchic and subversive art throughout history and Peter Schumann, the founder of Bread and Puppetry said: It is an art which is easier researched in police records than in theatre chronicles.

Last Sunday I grabbed two of my puppets and together we made the best bun recipe from page 32. Just to prove that it is that simple. I hope you like it, it would be great if you could share. It is such a great Christmas present. Buy a bag of flour, a wooden spoon and the Artist’s Survival Cookbook and you can make someone a really happy kitchen god(ess).

thank you_ copy

I am getting very close now making my famous Artist’s Survival Cookbook available on CreateSpace. After puppeteer-friend Tony had a good read and made correction, the lovely Heather went over the whole thing again with a fine comb. I have entered the latest changes and uploaded the complete file again. That is it now! In the meantime I have created a preview on CreateSpace. Everyone can look at and review the book here:

There is an independend book festival on first weekend in October. My garden guru friend Dee has organised a stall and offered to share it with me.  I also have seen the first proof copies from CreateSpace and I am happy with the print result. You guys can not believe how excited I am right now!




pledge me

Hurrah, I have done it. The crowdfunding campaign for the Artist’s survival cookbook is finally up and running. If you pledge, you basically pre-order the book but you also can pledge for a Lil’Dede, or the real thing, a Dede! They are not often for sale. Have a look, have a heart, and pledge. :) And if you know someone who might be interested in the book, share! Get the word out! The Dedes and I are grateful for all your support.



Last weekend I have been working on a film for my crowdfunding campaign. Now that it is finished, I have second thoughts and won’t be using it for it’s intended purpose. When I was riding the bus this morning, I had a more suitable idea. Guess I will be making another film next weekend.

But since I’ve made this one, I might as well show it :)

push push and little ele

The recipes are all done. The Artist’s Survival cookbook is at the layout stage. Hang on, a dear Dede-follower might think, wasn’t the book at the layout stage a month ago? How can it take so long? Yeah, well, I’ve got my tax bill! It is not much, but it depends on the reference point. If you have nothing, not much is too much. Pretty sure plenty of readers can empathise with me here :) It is the equivalent to going to jail in Monopoly: don’t pass GO on your way. Well, not quite. Looking back on last year I have moved substantially, but I am not where I want to be. I moved a little sideways. I have a part-time teaching job that takes up more time than it is supposed to. I am teaching young creatives, and I thoroughly enjoy the contact with the students and their development. Sadly, a clash in teaching philosophies with a colleague results in a lot of friction and ultimately the job takes up more head space than it should. The Dedes suffer.

The tax bill made me do a reality check! No more fluffing around. I have to finish the book and get it out. It will happen, but to speed up the process I will I need a little cash. This will go towards roping in some professionals that can do jobs I can’t do. I would also like to have a small print run of hard cover books.

Therefore I have finally decided to go ahead with a crowd funding campaign. This is not much more than pre-selling the books and it gives me an indication whether people are prepared to buy it. Of course, like any artist I have my doubts at times. And of course I know some of you really enjoy the puppets and the idea. A particularly big THANK YOU goes to Tony and Jürgen for their invaluable support throughout the entire process.

Yesterday I started to make a new flash drama film to support the upcoming campaign. As part of the campaign I will also offer four real Dedes as an incentive for a donation. As you may know, the Dedes are usually not for sale. Sometimes the lil’ Dedes are available. The real Dedes are bigger (between 12 and 15cm) and have a label on their neck to identify them as Dedes. They are the ones that go on exhibitions and star in stop motion films. The lil’Dedes are just puppets that try to be Dedes. They are smaller. You can see the difference in the photo. And while they are still handcrafted I don’t record where they go. The little elephant will go on sale at the Art in Action event at the Michael Park School (Steiner School) in Auckland on the 13 June, where I hold a puppet making and film making workshop.

So far I have sold four of the Dedes (my heart ached each time). I really don’t want to let them go. Two of the buyers allowed their puppets to stay with me. Push Push the elephant is one of them, Harvey the rabbit is the other. Ultimately the puppets become more valuable the more often they show up in films.  One, Lap Dog has gone to a collector I don’t know personally and Punch too aka Han de Vere has gone to a person I didn’t know, but know now. (Message for HanTop Dog is still waiting to join you! He is still muzzled, sitting in the corner.)

Still, the campaign might not work, as I am not very well connected. I work with puppets and reflect, I am not out there selling myself.  Another (not uncommon) trait a lot of people can empathise with :). However, the book will go ahead, one way or another. It is just a question of how and when. I have finally set a deadline. I will have it done and dusted in July! (this year).  And as I always say to my students. A deadline is a deadline, no expemptions!

artist survival cookbook cover

Milky Bar Devil looked so cute with his hamburger bun the other day, that the Dedes decided they are making him the poster boy for the cover and L’Artiste played around with the arrangement today. Having arrived at this stage, the little light at the end of the tunnel is definitely in sight. I have three more recipes to add, and a couple other changes, the proof-reader is lined-up too…. So can’t be too long now.

In case you haven’t had dinner yet, here is a picture of the finished hamburger.





Well, well, Devil is angry with me again. He’s the one who always reminds me I should look after the Dedes. After all, he was the spokesperson for the Dedes for a long time and knows how important it is to keep in people’s minds. Mind you, in the end he got sacked because he did a poor job. To be honest, he is not very well connected and all he did was jog me along, rather than opening up new avenues. Sadly, this is exactly the one trait Devil and I have in common… we are not very public.

Now, Devil didn’t need to remind me of my obligations to the Dedes. Believe you me, I have constantly been thinking about them. I just didn’t have time to write my blog or continue on the Artist’s survival cookbook. Real life devils have their demands on me as well – Real life still wins, every time!

Devil got particularly angry when I took some time last week to make a non-Dede related stop-motion film with Son. Son is a Vietnamese student who is currently staying with us. He wanted to bake a birthday cake for his ex-girlfriend who is living in Australia. The story was complicated enough to grab my attention. So, on a rainy Sunday we went to the supermarket, got all the ingredients and spent the afternoon having fun making the cake. He uploaded the finished work to youtube and promised me the link to put up on my blog. By the way the cake tasted delicious. But, I’m still waiting for the link.  I reminded Son at least four times about the link. Finally it occurred to me that maybe he didn’t get the desired reaction and deleted it off youtube. So I stripped all the lovely messages for the girlfriend out and here is my version of it.

Why am I showing this film of unreciprocated love? My involvement in the film wasn’t entirely selfless. At the moment I am pondering how I can promote the Artist’s survival cookbook. One of my ideas is to put a “Pledge me” campaign together. Pledge me is a New Zealand crowd-funding platform and I think a book is perfectly suited to crowd funding. In fact it’s not much more than pre-selling the book, is it? To create a campaign I have to make a new movie. I wanted to explore what baking looks like in stop-motion. I quite liked the result of the cake, now I only have to add the Dedes somehow. The little buggers don’t want to get their mittens dirty.

The central problem remains: I am not well-connected and if the campaign flops, will I do more damage to the Dedes than good? What do you think?



This is a really busy weekend for the Dedes. They all lined up in the studio to get their pictures taken for the Artist’s Survival Cookbook. For a while they’ve been discussing with L’Artiste how to do the imagery in the book. The pics on the blog were only quick snapshots taken on the day when their recipe was baked. Mouse baulked at the idea of re-making everything just to get better shots. She is really annoyed that nobody listened to her when she said, “Do it once and do it right!” Why should she spend more time now, she asked, when she can use her time so much better for the design of the book.

“But don’t you want to have the best possible book?” asked Detail.

“Leave her alone” said Devil. “I can understand, she’s the one who does all the work! There is always a way around it.”

In the end they decided to take new pictures in the studio and present the existing ones as selfies. They asked Mouse to quickly mock a page up to show everyone. She acted coyly at first, as she doesn’t want to show work in progress. She has a long list of things she still has to solve. But the others were adament that the readers need to know they are still working on the book. In the end she succumbed.