Archives for posts with tag: craft


Not surprisingly, Top Dog’s confidence was renewed by the support of the two puppets. Yesterday he came out shouting “Vote for me, vote for me. I have the balls” and to proof it he rolled two juggling balls into the room. Mouse was not impressed and asked whether we shouldn’t be worried about what is going on. At least she is. She is very scared indeed!  Though the majority of Dedes still don’t seem to take Top Dog seriously. I wonder if they all think he is simply a nutcase. The fronts are getting more defined though and both camps want more supporters.

It happened that it was very stormy yesterday, so the Dedes sent me into the studio to make a new puppet. I recorded a film to show how I do it. Okay, I cheated a little and I had the shape of the head prepared earlier, but you see how I put the skin on. Of course, I am not working that fast. To be honest, I am extremely slow.

(PS: Please don’t ask me what the cocoa powder is doing in the middle of the work bench. That is just dada.)

Even before the newbie had his final protective coat on he ran into trouble. He went to Devil and said “I need a gun.”

“What for?” asked Devil.

“To protect myself from all these weird Dedes!” was the answer

“But you are a Dede yourself!”

“But I am not weird!” he said adamantly.

Devil shook his head, put his hand on the new puppet’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “oh boy, what you need is an open mind and a brain.”


On a different note, can anyone suggest a name for the new puppet?

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.



Oh dear, this year seems to be the year of best intentions. I am so sorry for having neglected my blog for some time. Though it doesn’t mean the Dedes have been neglected.

You might know I have lost a few of my major sources of income at the end of last year and I have been working hard to secure new income streams. Now six month later everything came to fruition at once and this just means I am rushed off my feet to fulfill all my promises. My book of “101 recipes with flour and water” is still not finished, however, I am using it a lot, but I am stuck on 51 recipes.  My backyard chooks deliver an invaluable addition to my diet too.

Recently I have taken on a part-time teaching job. My first salaried job in 20 odd years. Even though I have been teaching for a long time, it was always on a contract basis. It seems with a salary inevitably come the politics… Something I want to steer clear off as much as possible. Navigating the foul ground takes a lot of energy. Believe me, I feel some good puppet stories coming on….

The Festival of Performing Objects is about to start. This weekend I have to deliver the Dedes I want to show in the exhibition. Every Dede is keen to pack up and go. Some of them will just sit in the Gallery for the month, while others will get action in the stop-motion workshops of the last week. I have to make a decision who is going to do what. I did a lot of work in the early days of the organisation unfortunately with all the changes to my working life poor Kim (the manager of the arts centre) had to bear the brunt of the recent weeks. She did an amazing work luring puppeteers out of the underwood. I am very confident it will be a fantastic exhibition.

It looks like we are getting quite a bit of attention. The first article about the event was published this week.

HM puppets 28_7_14

spoon puppet

Monday night I will have a little puppet gig in the library in Takapuna. A friend of mine is launching her book about healthy nutrition for kids. I am not really a performer, but agreed to do a very short puppet show with the two puppets Munch & Kin and also this lady, who of course knows how to cook a healthy meal, as she is descendant from a long line of wooden spoons.

2 badi_cup

I was so itching to get back to puppet making and spend all weekend to create puppets for a project that will advocate good nutrition. Here it was important to me, that the puppets could open their mouths, but they also should show their relationship with the Dedes.  In this photograph I photoshopped two images of the same puppet together, to show it with the mouth open and closed. However, here the mouth is propped open with a aluminium tube, which I originally wanted to use. It runs inside the handle. But when the puppet was finished, I discovered, when I shake it in a certain way, the mouth opens and closes without the help of the tube and I only need one hand. So I can work two puppets at once. It is amazing how plans always change.

happy man

Life is pretty frantic at the moment. On Thursday the sponge puppet film will be released. Finally I am all set, the poster is printed… But you know how it is, in the end there are always a million things to attend to.  This afternoon, a reporter comes round to interview me about the story… On a different note, the photographer of Artstation must have been really taken by Court Jester, as he immediately posted a picture on their facebook page . Obviously Court Jester did a good job, he made the puppeteer laugh really hard.

In the meantime, I continue stabbing wool tuffs to turn them into little sculptures. This one here is called Keith, as a tribute Keith Haring.  If he had felted, I am pretty sure his figures would have looked somewhat like this.

I have to say, for me the expression “making friends” has taken on a new dimension. Yesterday my Dedes and I were invited to hold a workshop with elderly people in October. So it is still a while to go and I have heaps of time to think how I am going to do it. However, after our last outing I have a fairly good idea what could work. And I am looking forward to it.

Ah yes, I have to admit it… whether I want it or not… with the dede puppet project I have entered the Brave New World!

I have finally uploaded the dede puppet film onto Youtube. I thought you could just upload the film by creating an email account. For some reason it didn’t work and I ended up getting a Google+ account. I am happy with my blog, but I still don’t want to have a social network thingummy and keep track of online friends. I have enough to do with following blogs :). Call me old-fashioned, but this was the reason for me writing the Hermit’s Web book. Ah well, I think I have switched everything off that I could possibly switch off… to keep a little bit of privacy.

If you want to see the puppets in action, here is the link to dede puppets – the film.

I have also  finally updated our website, to include Hermit’s Web.

The puppy is finally finished. It has been sitting in my studio from before the launch and I only needed to put the skin on. It was good that it took me a while, as in the meantime I came up with the story and chose the skin accordingly. Puppy is eternally in love with Skeleton Edeltraut. But the love is not returned. This will be a big part in the sequel to Hermit’s Web. Edeltraut is still going out with Monster and  cute little Puppy turns into a stalker.

I told some people the story already and was surprised how few got it that Edeltraut is the logical choice for Puppy’s desire.



Here is the foreword of Hermit’s Web. Just to give an idea of my writing and what to expect when reading the book…

Artist’s preface

My friends and I go back a long, long way. All of them were bright young things once, making headlines. They sure were looked at in their heyday, and admired for their knowledge. I for one thoroughly enjoyed their companionship. Sadly, as they grew older they lost their attractiveness. You know how it goes: even great stories become old news as one makes new friends with new stories and new insights. So I shuffled them off to a rest home, where they desperately awaited my visit.

Isn’t it sad? All they had left was a life in anticipation of something that might never happen. Of course I was so busy, that once they were shuffled out of sight, my visit stayed pretty much a promise. Every time I walked past that place, I had a bad conscience and thought, I really have to look up my old friends. Needless to say, it rarely happened. Too many other things demanded my attention.

To cut a long story short, my friends experienced it first hand: our world, is a world of youth. Once you are past your prime, people lose interest fairly swiftly.

Then one day, I heard of plans to demolish the rest home. I was told all my old friends would have to go. I decided instantly to go down memory lane one more time. The next rainy day, I went to pay the old dears a visit. As soon as I sat down, Chance (normally not one to push in front and speak up) said: “If we want to have a new lease on life, we have to re-invent ourselves. Our situation won’t improve by just sitting around.” I am not sure whether they already knew about the demolition plans, or if it was an act of desperation, tired of waiting for some sort of attention. Anyway, the Devil, sitting next to Chance, and of course having no fear, held his hand up immediately. He said to me: “I know, I can do it with your help.” Admittedly I was flattered by the Devil asking me for help. How could I say no to him? So I gave it a go. The others watched suspiciously, but Devil turned out wonderfully and was invited out to dinner that very same night. In fact, he never returned to the rest home. Needless to say, the next day they all wanted to have a go. Now there is a long waiting list.

Of course we are not living in a fairy-tale world, are we? There is danger in re-invention. In the process their brains shrivel dramatically. They might still have a glimpse of who they were before, but more often than not, they become a totally new personality. But one thing they all have in common: they couldn’t give a toss about what’s going on in the big wide world. But why should they? They have been cast aside before.

I just love to watch them and think of my part. With all their imperfections, they are great fun to have around.

Translation for the less imaginative of my friends:

Of course I was talking about the pile of old newspaper in the spare room, and the dreadfully wet summer Christmas of 2011/2012, when I created all the hand puppets featured in this book. But this wouldn’t have taken up two pages.