Archives for posts with tag: book

devil bun

Milky Bar Devil is a caring sort of guy. He loves to work in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and of course making a mess. So for his skill performance he baked his famous hamburger buns and brought them to the stage. They are so easy to make and take all of 40 mins from start to finish. He has done them so many times and they always have been popular. Devil, the MC, was not impressed: “That is such an old hat” he said sneeringly “We all know you were the poster boy of the Artist’s Survival Cookbook*.” Milky Bar Devil was surprised “No one told me it needs to be a new skill!”

Ah well, the others ate the buns and didn’t complain.

*The Dedepuppet cookbook with recipes from flour and water is available from

box voll

Today was a holiday for the Dedes, they stayed in their suitcase in the art cupboard. Not their favourite place, but I like to keep them in the dark. I am worried they will fade too quickly when they are exposed to light all the time. At the moment I am revising old material and I am planning a few ebooks with Dede stories. The first one up will be the “Super Dede Competion.” This was definitely one of our highlights on the blog. Does anyone remember it?

I had to think long and hard about sharing the film of last Monday’s show with you or not. The quality is pretty shoddy. In the end I decided to share the film with you mainly for the audio. The show is pretty simple, but you can definitely hear how the audience gets more and more into it. I had amazing feedback afterwards.

The show was performed at the launch of garden and nutrition guru Dee Pigneguy’s book “Grow me well” at the Takapuna Library. That same evening two other books were launched and Dee was allocated 15 minutes for her speech. She thought a puppet show would be a lovely introduction. She left it entirely up to me what I did with the puppets and I came up with this three minute sketch for Munch, Kin and the Wooden Spoon. The puppets were specifically designed for this event and I wanted them to be able to open their mouths and stuff themselves. My puppets are usually not big on words, so here we go, another surprise. On the evening we had the puppets set up in one corner of the room. Then, when I was sitting in the audience listening to the first speakers, I realised nobody would be able to see the puppets perform where they were. On the spur of the moment I decided  to take the cast to the lectern. It definitely had its benefits and I had the microphone as well, but I had to push the puppets uphill, which caused me a little bit of trouble to begin with. And the person who was holding the camera didn’t have a tripod, so there is a lot of camera shake.

But still, if you are a hardy Dede-fan, you might enjoy it.


esta blished

I am finally ready to tell the story of Fairy Godmother. It is a long story and I have to briefly recap the whole Dede story.

You might know the Dedes have been around for just over a year. I started doing them in December 2011 and they immediately took on a life of their own. Within a week I had created 15 characters. They instantly set forth and forced me to drop everything else I was doing at the time and take pictures of them. When the images turned out well, they went on to demand a story about our relationship. So I sat down and wrote the book “Hermit’s Web or the few friends I need I hand-craft myself”. Their initial success made them so vain that having the book distributed to my close friends wasn’t good enough for them any longer. They wanted to take on the world…

Unfortunately they can’t do it themselves. They have to work with me. And I am the one who is holding it all up, so they tell me. If they had chosen a different artist, if they had landed in someone else’s studio, they would be out there enjoying fame and fortune (or at least, that is what they are constantly telling me). I can assure you they are not always plain fun. They are needy, demanding and ungrateful at times. They are holding me hostage  – but that is a different story. I wanted to let you in on the appearance of Fairy Godmother.

The Dedes, – when the book was published – heard or read somewhere that New Zealand was Guest of Honor at the tremendously important book fair in Frankfurt. Of course their demands didn’t stop with the publication of the book. The next thing was they wanted to go to this big fair. My plea that we were a little late didn’t cut it with them. “That is what we want, make it happen.” they said.

I was extremely fortunate to find someone who still had space on their booth and was willing to take the Dede book to Frankfurt after I had described it as an art book over the phone. I was so overjoyed about the good news that I immediately had to sit down and create the Fairy Godmother for good luck. The head wasn’t even dry when the lady, an academic, rang me back to tell me that my book wasn’t an art book. She said the book was rather childish. Whimsical I prefer to call it, but the word eluded me at the time. I was speechless. Here we are again: what is art?

Anyway, the book went to Frankfurt in the end. When I put the skin on the Dede Fairy Godmother I named her Mrs Esta Blished. Look at her. She turned out to be a tired old Fairy Godmother, who is busy protecting her own achievements. Her wand  is gathering dust in the attic. Personally I think she is a beauty, but she might not appeal to other people. Just like art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

love sick lou-1

With the new crammed living conditions, Lou’s heartache flared up again. He is head over heels in love with Skeleton and doesn’t know what to do. Skeleton on the other hand finds his attention extremely scary and doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. She is in a steady relationship with Monster and has no intention of leaving him. Young Lou is quite depressed about it all and lies around a lot, doing nothing but staring into space.

This of course affects all the Dedes in a way and everybody has an opinion. I had to think long and hard about how to deal with it, and finally made up my mind last night: I am going to write a follow-up book to ‘Hermit’s Web’ in which Lou’s sufferings of unrequited love are recounted. A book just gives me that much more space to characterise everybody involved in more detail. I am really excited about sitting down and writing a longer story again and of course taking all the pictures to go with it. And don’t worry, the reports of daily life will continue on the blog.

When I told Lou about my plans, he just shrugged his shoulders and said: “Who cares, she still won’t love me”, but I thought I could detect a slight smile around the corner of his mouth. I think he might be just a smidgen pleased that somebody finally takes his pain seriously, even though he would never admit it.

devil news

For most of the Dedes it was very hard getting up this morning. Admittedly, this is the case most days. But today it was particularly difficult as they were working hard to tidy up the house yesterday. They are not even half way there. Worse, the house is in a bigger mess than ever. Luckily it is a long weekend and they have an extra day to finish their chores. Understandably, breakfast – which they had on some already packed boxes – was a very quiet affair today. That is, until Devil came running in, barely able to hide his excitement.

“We’ve got a message, we’ve got a message…” He sang and danced around. You might remember he is responsible for the Facebook page and it is all new to him. Of course everybody looked at him and waited. Then he told us this morning he found a lovely message from Cape Town on Facebook.

“Where is that?” Lou, the puppy asked. “Shush,” said Smuggy

“It’s in South Africa, Lou! And I think it is our first official friend there. So it is quite something”

“The blog can be read everywhere in the world, so what’s the big deal?” Smuggy pointed out. “Cut the crap and get on with the story.”

Devil took his time. He enjoyed having everybody’s attention. “But… wait there is more, the young women didn’t ‘find’ our blog… she got the Hermit’s Web book for Christmas from her aunt and she loved it! She was ‘looking’ for our Facebook page!”

“This is indeed interesting,” Mouse gave Devil a hi-five.

“Thinking of it” Detail piped up, “we never heard back from Arindam, who won the book in the Super Dede 2012 competition! He mustn’t have liked it and is keeping mum!”

“Oh, no, no” Mouse defended our friend from India. “He loved it too. He has send an email to Dietlind privately. I don’t want to disclose what is written in emails, but I can assure you, he liked it a lot. You have to take my word for it!”

“We don’t have all day to pat ourselves on the back,” L’Artiste interrupted the celebrations rudely. “Let’s get on with our chores. Otherwise we will never get them done. I want to knock off at 8 tonight. Miss Viwi continues her interview in ||:::VEGGIETORIA::|| and this time it’s with me!”


Mouse and Devil had asked me to set up the laptop on the living room floor last night so that all the Dedes could see what Miss Viwi had written about them in ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::||. There is certainly more space in the living room than on the kitchen table, never mind that I wanted to watch a film on TV…

It was just like a premiere for a big screen film, bar the red carpet. They all gathered around the laptop and Mouse had brought up the Word Press Reader so they wouldn’t miss when Miss Viwi published her post. Then it appeared – just as promised – at 8pm our time: The first thing they saw was a picture of Devil in the hammock. The Dedes burst out laughing and Devil was quite embarrassed to be shown in this laid back position. He immediately said it sends the wrong signal. He is not usually that idle.

“There is no pleasing some” Witch said “At least there is a picture of you, so be happy for a change.” Secretly, I was quite grateful for this remark.

“So what does the post say?” Socialite called out, the poor thing was standing in the fourth row and couldn’t see a thing. “Read it out to us Mouse!”

Mouse started to read it out, but in German. “Hang on,” Foxy Lady said “I’ll read it out and translate it as I go for our English spreaking friends. Mouse, would you be so kind and take notes?”

And so Foxy Lady started again:

{dedepuppets | first Act}

A rainy day in December + a pile of old newspapers + a childhood memory = an art project (with heaps of art terms)

Today |:::  VEGGIETORIA:::| welcomes venerable guests from New Zealand. Miss Viwi is conducting an interview with the artist Dietlind Wagner and a second artist who is one of her works. One artist is prerequisite for the other artist’s work – ??? In several acts I will entice you away into the world of Dede puppets.

[The idea]

It was Christmas 2011 and on a rainy day the artist wanted to tidy up her studio when she came across a pile of old newspapers. “All of a sudden this idea of hand puppets sprung back to mind” tells Dietlind Wagner about an idea planted by her mother in childhood. “Mum spoke often and lovingly about a devil hand puppet she had created once. So  the idea of giving hand puppets a go was with me pretty much all my life.”

[The first puppet – Devil]

dietlind: „Of course the first one had to be a devil. He turned out beautifully, despite I had  hardly any experience with the medium. And as it didn’t stop raining, I just continued.”

miss viwi: In the meantime there are 40 puppets, do you have a favourite?

dietlind: „I can’t tell, but Devil being the first puppet, will always have a special place.“


40 characters have been created to date. These are real hand puppets made from papier mache and the heads are between twelve and eighteen centimetres high, with a weight of around 30 grams, but they are extremely strong and won’t break. Special features are build around a cardboard skeleton.  The faces are collages from magazines.

[The tonuge-in-cheek before and after picture]

The artist photographed the first puppets to send an image to the newspaper they were made of. Transformation is a very interesting aspect of the work. Made from newspapers which convey news and stories, emerge new characters which tell their own stories. Stories the artist writes. “You know how it goes: even great stories become old news as one makes new friends with new stories and new insights.” (From the preface of the Dede puppet book ‘Hermit’s Web’).

Originally the plan was to sell the puppets in a local art shop, but when the artist’s friends said how much they liked them, and Dietlind discovered how photogenic they are, she started to write a story, a story in which the Dede puppets are the protagonists…

—– The visit to ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::|| and the interview were a talking point in the Dede World today.
The interview will continue next Sunday in ||:::VEGGIETORIA:::|| at 8 am Central European Time.

“I am very happy” Devil said, visibly chuffed about being mentioned.

“There is nothing new in this interview” Smuggy said, disappointed. “You can read all this on the blog here as well.”

“Shut up you silly thing!” Mouse said. “Miss Viwi has done wonderful job and I am certainly looking forward to next week.” All the other Dedes clapped and cheered.

I have noticed the Dedes who were at the gallery are somehow different from the home crowd. The ones at home are a lively bunch. The travelers seem somewhat sedated in comparison. I expected them to be brimming with new ideas and stories.

Far from it!  Boy, Liar and Ms SM sleep all day (and night). Alien – who needs no sleep – sits in the middle of the lawn speaking to his people at home, where ever this might be. He doesn’t even need a phone. He just sits there and smiles and from time to time laughs out loud. Watching him, I get the feeling he is terribly homesick.

That leaves Smug Little Devil to bath in the attention of the home crowd. Of course everybody wants to hear some stories and he is the only one who likes to talk about it. I heard through the grapevine that he loves to tell everyone how terribly I failed in selecting the best team for the excursion. He could have done a much better job.

He uses a silly little trick… He schmoozes each Dede by telling them they definitely should have been chosen for the trip and he would have so much preferred to have stayed with them for six weeks than with the other losers he had to go with (… the ones I had selected). I am not entirely sure what he is trying to achieve….except unsettling everyone.

Help! What shall I do now? If I don’t nip this in the bud right now, I will have another riot on my hands.

…The complete Like – What? installation. The figures are looking outwards and the connections at the modems form a pentagram. The heads are sitting on clay balls at the top of aluminum tubes and when somebody walks past they sway ever so slightly. I will leave the rest of the interpretation up to you…. you know the characters already :)

I wanted to make new puppets last weekend, but got side-tracked with revamping my blog. I updated the Home page and the About page and added the Milestones menu, though I haven’t added the installation characters to the Character page yet. This will have to wait until next weekend.

I am now in my seventh month of writing this blog and I do notice a gradual change from the initial difficulties of sharing my art with an unknown audience. It has become easier over time. The biggest hurdle for me is seeing how many gifted people are out there, and I wonder who should read all this….  I personally would like to have more time to spend reading the other blogs and discover new ones. In the end it is no different to real life is it? You have a couple of blogs you always check up on. You hang out with some more than with others, but  it changes over time until you suddenly notice that you haven’t seen one for a while.

A big fat Thank you  to all the people who check regularly on my progress. I really appreciate it!

I will have to concentrate on my book for a while and I was going to check out LULU last night, but then I skyped for ages with the other side of the world, so this didn’t happen. I came across a German self-publishing site called Tredition, this could become plan B.

Reading today’s post again, I notice it is all about what I wanted to do but didn’t … I guess I will have to start on my Procrastinator puppet soon.

What was clear and crisp yesterday, is out-of-focus today.

I will have a bit of a rant today. It’s a pacman day: that means I have hit the wall and need to get unstuck before the ghosts get me. Pretty sure you all know the game.

I have noticed that my book is listed in an online shop of a large New Zealand bookstore chain. (Of course it is, as it is in the Nielsen database and I assume they just republish this database). However this online store shows the book as currently unavailable, which irks me, as it is not unavailable at all. To the general punter it sounds as if it were out of print. So we wrote a nice  letter to the chain with a fact sheet about the book, asking whether they would consider stocking the title as they have it in their database anyway. We even offered them to send an evaluation copy.  It didn’t take them much more than an hour to respond and say it is too specialised. Mmmhm I wonder how they came to that conclusion without engaging.  Furthermore they told us they will take it off the database. (Which is difficult, since I believe they just re- publish the Nielson database). Later on that day we got another email saying they won’t take it off the database, but just order a book from us if someone asks for it. Surprise! But nothing achieved.

This got me thinking about the whole publishing world again. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. My book could be viewed as a vanity book or self-published as I am a partner in the publishing house that published it. What is a ‘real publisher’? After all I studied publishing for 3 years and set up a publishing house before, which I successfully sold. I adapted my career path when I came to New Zealand as I wasn’t confident enough with the language. I moved into writing computer books for the German market. I have been sole or co-author of around 30 books. So I wouldn’t really call myself a novice. But gee I am happy that books are not cream cakes and we don’t have to sell them by the weekend. Thankfully, they won’t perish.

Of course not much has changed in the publishing world since Gutenberg… until the Internet came along. We all know that. Generally I am very much in favour of the institution of “the publisher” to ensure quality through the editing process and vouching for well researched and well written stories. But it reminds me so much of the time when computers started to move into offices. I met a lot of 40-year-olds then who said they don’t have to learn computers, it won’t affect their work at all. Ten years later they were too young to retire, but unable to find a job without computer skills.

Enough of the ranting!

On a more positive note: I met up with a friend yesterday to discuss the puppeteer workshops and it is all looking good here. I’ve nutted out a session plan which I will fine-tune after the discussion we had. Then we will take it to the next stage and test it with a group of people. This is volunteer work and I am really curious how it will all pan out.

The biggest hurdle I face is that there is the common misconception, particularly in this country, that puppets are only for children. I have been warned! In Europe, on the other hand, there are some amazing permanent troupes with elaborate stage shows. My puppets are different, as they are not professional performers. With my workshops I want them to become confidants for the participants. I would so love to unleash their creative juices.