Archives for posts with tag: memories


I knew I was in trouble, when I opened my eyes and Devil and Mouse were sitting on my legs, so I couldn’t run away. Devil, glowing with anger, said “now, admit it this campaign is a flop! We wanted to increase our readership, and yes, we thought giving away a Dede was a good idea. Instead we lost quite a few followers!” And Mouse added “it is your fault because you want to turn a reader into a puppet! Who wants to be a puppet?” I didn’t see it quite that bad. Yes, we lost a few followers, but we also had some people who referered us to their friends and some very positive comments. Don’t forget I had just woken up, so I asked “What shall I do, shall I give up then?”

“Don’t be such a sensitive artist! But what on earth were you thinking!” Devil rolled his eyes. “I simply thought this would be a fun artistic collaboration project with one of our fans!” I replied. “Still,” said Devil, “make sure the followers know they will get a Dede, but if they don’t want it modelled on them, it won’t be.” “No problem” I said and this seemed to calm them down.

But they weren’t the only disgruntled Dedes this morning. The puppets that were lined up for the “Embrace Diversity” Project yesterday were unhappy too. They had gone to the studio and then their photo wasn’t used.


At least the green one, Nosy Neighbour, was very vocal about it. He so would love to know what’s up with Ms Sm. He watches her from behind the curtain, but has no idea what is going on. So he happily agreed to pose with her. Ms Sm was much more reluctant to be on show. Though she totally agrees with the “Embrace Diversity” idea, she does not want to put herself on the line. She has had too many bad experiences. Gee was she relieved when she was saved by the milestone in the last minute. She happily keeps her secret to herself.


And then last but not least, Top Dog took advantage of the current befuddled mood amongst the Dedes and continued to present himself as a victim to gain power. He finally dug out this old picture that proves the artist tried to muzzle him. Be careful, he keeps a file on everyone. In these files he documents all the mistreatments he had to endure. Perceived mistreatments, I should say, but here he disagrees again!


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.



Last night I got a comment from Jürgen Küster, the artist who originally sparked the Dede’s dharna incident. When I recently re-read the Dede storys from that time, I realised they have changed a lot over the years. In my opinion not always postively. Jürgen is not only an accomplished artist himself, but also offers tremendeous support to other creatives and the Dedes are fortunate that he has kept an eye on them from the very early days. He was surprised to hear I had a negative perception of the puppets and has asked three questions (in German, translated below):

1 What did you get from the Dedes?

2 What is their impact on you?

3 Why can’t you let them go?

First of all I have to apologise before the Dedes decide to have another dharna. I didn’t mean they have a negative impact on me. It is just that they have become increasingly cynical over the years. They have lost the lightness of being they had in the early days. I recently revamped the Super Dede Competition as an ebook (available soon). In my own humble opinion they were at the top of their game when they did that competition. It is truly an insightful story.

But, and this is now a question for our readers, there is of course the possibility that only I know how cynical they have become, because I know how close they are to my personal life. I am really interested to find out, how do you perceive the Dedes?

But to answer Jürgen’s questions:

  1. I can’t measure how much the Dedes have given me. Since I was a little child I had this mephistopheles kind of personality. Mephisto is a devil in Goethe’s Faust (arguably the most important book in German literature). He describes himself as being part of that force that forever wants the evil, but always creates the good. I of course intended the opposite. I wanted the good, but somehow always managed to create the evil, at least in the eyes of those around me. Even my teachers said I only did things to rile them, when I rather would have liked to have gone unnoticed and blend into the background.
  2. As a result, I am obsessed with the impact of miscommuncation. And there is a lot of miscommunication out there. Everyone lives in their own little bubble of reality, each of us adament our own reality is the one and only true one. The Dedes are an amzing tool to view other people’s perception or interpretation of situations. If I don’t understand a person’s behaviour, I simply make another Dede or invent a new story and by the time I am done I have a better understanding. This doesn’t mean I understand everything. No way, but I can make an educated decision to walk away when communication is too lopsided.
  3. It is not that I can’t let them go. I don’t want to let them go. These little critters are the ones that keep me sane.

Now, back to the Dede story that is going on on Instagram at the moment. Snippedy the clown found fairy godmother’s magic wand in the attic, but no handbook on how to use it. Esta Blished the fairy godmother got angry because it was hers and he just took it. When Snippedy ask her to do a bit of magic and find Rob a job, she started to cry and reluctantly admitted she had forgotten how to do it. It could be the onset of alzheimers.


sunny looking for lil

It so happens that the first anniversary of the day when Sunny created Lil’ Sculpture is approaching. You might remember it was last year on Waitangi Day when Sunny, the wannabe artist, all of a sudden got frantically busy and came up with a cute little figure. I was very miffed with him, as he actually didn’t come up with the concept but just copied the work of Artistatexit0. If you can’t remember, here is the story. Anyway, Sunny isn’t the most reliable Dede. He is so involved in his own little world, trying to create his 15 minutes of fame, that he usually forgets about anybody else and doesn’t keep in touch. Funnily enough, when he realised that it is Waitangi Day this week, he all of a sudden remembered that Lil’ Sculpture almost made him famous and he wanted to go and look his little mate up and reminice about the good old times (They weren’t actually that good… but I won’t enlighten him about this).

He got a big surprise when he arrived at the bookshelf, where Lil’ Sculpture has been residing like forever, to find the little man was nowhere to be seen. Worse, there was no-one else around, no neighbours, that Sunny could ask about the whereabouts of his creation. He tried to keep a brave face, but I could see that he was very distressed about the disappearance of his artwork.


This item is so typical of my youth. I got it from the person I had my very first crush on. It is a nail to fix shoes to a horse’s hoof. I don’t know if it is universal, but horse shoes are supposed to be lucky charms. Well, nobody ever gave me the shoe. I had to make do with the nail. But I’ve learned in the meantime they can be just as lucky. You only have to believe in it.


A rose is the ultimate token of love, isn’t it? This tatty old plastic rose is a painful reminder of my youth. I personally can’t understand why people want to be young again. All the pain you go through in your teenage years. The longing for acceptance and respect. You want to be different and stand out, but at the same time you want to fit in and be exactly like everybody else. What a dilemma. No way would I want to go through that again.

I don’t know exactly how I obtained this rose. I can’t remember whether I bullied the person into handing it over to me or not. My memory about this has faded, but the pain I feel when I look at it suggests that it was not given to me voluntarily. I know who I got it from and I remember the situation. It was at one of those travelling fairgrounds with a shooting booth. Teenage crowd, typical situation: girl loves boy, boy loves another girl,  the other girl couldn’t care less and second boy loves first girl, all without anybody really knowing what love actually means. Everything happens in secret, well hidden, or so they think, convinced that nobody except themselves knows, despite it being so blatantly obvious.

As you grow older you watch the next generation repeating the pattern. And just like we were, they are convinced nobody will notice. What can the old folks possibly know about the pain of searching for true love. Weren’t they born old?

What is most surprising though, is that for some people it never seems to end. Watch people in the rest home… It goes on, the craving for respect and acceptance and the search for this one special person.


It is really sad. When I was younger I never realised how many people cared about me. This token was given to me by someone who was under the impression I was constantly broke. (And he was certainly right). The little plastic thing would have given me a feed in the student canteen at Munich University once and it had a home in my wallet for a very, very long time. Obviously I wasn’t broke enough to use it, or more likely, I wasn’t brave enough to go to the student canteen as I wasn’t enrolled at Munich. I was too afraid I might get caught out.


The Dedes might complain about the lack of consultation, but I decided to have one day per week where I put up images unrelated to the Dedes and I am starting today. (Nothing in my life is entirely unrelated to the Dedes, or to put it another way, the Dedes are very much part of my life.) If Devil was here he would tell me off now for waffling, so I will leave it at this.

Anyway, the image I have put up today is from a photo series called “worst friend ever.” For this series, I photographed mementoes of people who once were dear to me, but I have long lost touch with. I have a lot of these (mementoes and people I have lost touch with). The title of the series is of course a reference to me, not the friends I’ve lost touch with.

This little glass penguin is shown larger than it is in reality. It is in fact only about 1 centimetre tall, but it is larger than life. It was given to me by one of my dearest friends when I was in my early twenties. He brought it back from his first trip to Italy. It was an extremely significant trip for him, as it was the first time he was allowed to leave the country after he was realeased from prison. I can assure you this precious one centimeter high piece of glass carries an entire book inside.

alien competition

The anniversary is drawing closer and the Dedes are still trying to come up with a catchy idea to celebrate.  Mouse suggested writing  a summary of the highlights of last year. She loves writing and would be happy to do the extra work. But Devil couldn’t see how the readers could participate. This was the most important requirement – our readers should be able to take part. He suggested having a gallery of the best images on face book and asking the viewers to vote on which one was the best. This idea didn’t fly at all. Mouse pointed out that there are only 14 fans on face book, and anyway, the celebration was clearly about the Dede puppet blog being one year old.

Alien listened to their argument and said: “Why don’t we combine your two ideas? Look, we know that my photograph was the best one last year anyway.”

“Who says?” asked Devil. “I know a few images of me which are equally good!”

“Don’t start arguing again, DevilMouse begged. But Alien held his hand up and explained: “Leopoldine said so. She won the postcards in the Super Dede competition. One of the postcards had this photograph, and she told us that I am her absolute favourite.”

“So what do you want to do then? I can’t really see where you are going with this…”

“I didn’t like the story that went with the photograph” Alien continued. “Let our readers invent a new story for it.”

“Ha, that is so silly. You can’t just invent a new story. What has been, has been!” Devil laughed out loud.

“Can’t you? Where I come from we do it all the time. If you don’t like your history you just re-write it!

“That is rather an alien concept” Mouse said. “But why not give it a go?” All the Dedes present turned their heads towards me and waited for my approval. After all, it was my story in the first place. “Go for it” I said. “I think it is a brilliant idea. It’s definitely worth a try!”

Mouse made a few notes on her pad. She is not the most creative one, but she is really good in picking up ideas and seeing them through. “Okay” she said after a while and ripped out the page from her note pad to pin up on the wall. It outlined the rules for the competition. Mouse’s scrawly handwriting is difficult to decipher, so I’ll type out what she had written here:

We would like to invite all our friends to celebrate one year of Dede puppet blogging by having a story-telling competition.

Rules for the story-telling competition

Everybody who wants to take part should copy the image above onto their blog and invent a new story to go with it.

Please send us a link to your blog, so that the Dedes and all our fans can read your story.

First prize: an autographed copy of ‘Hermit’s Web’ the original Dede puppet book.

Second and third prize: One set of 10 Dede puppet postcards each.

The stories can be written in English or German. Should a German story win, we will translate and post it on this blog here for all our fans to read. If an English story wins, we will re-blog and translate it on our German blog.

Competition ends 4th of March 2013 (midnight NZ).

We are looking forward to your stories!

“Oh I am so excited, I am so excited” Alien danced around the table “I will get a new story!”.

“What happens if nobody takes part?” asked Devil

“We have at least tried!” Mouse replied.

mouse on stage-2

We were all a bit stunned by Pig‘s performance. Professor was busy going around telling everybody that it was Pig‘s first public speech. The jury is still out on this one. Some Dedes say it wasn’t really public – it was just amongst friends! He plainly isn’t up to it. Full stop! While others are sympathetic and say having everyone’s eyes on you, even all your friends’ eyes, can be terribly daunting. I am pretty sure, if Pig wouldn’t have such a pink complexion, we all could have seen him blush.

Pig made himself scarce and didn’t even come to watch his competition perform. Mouse was the next one up and she was the extreme opposite. She strode onto the stage with both her little mittens in the air calling “I love you all, I love you all”.

Even though she looked a winner, she couldn’t fool me…  If you know her as well as I do, you will have noticed her pitch was a tad too high and the pace a fraction too fast…  believe you me… she was shitting herself!

“Hi I am Mouse, but what am I telling you, you all know me” she started while she was pulling a box from behind the curtain. She smiled wryly into the darkness in front of her and sat down.

“I am just your ordinary puppet and I am not used to being in the limelight. But I thought this competition is a good way of connecting with you all again.

“My big aspiration in life is to get everybody playing nicely together. You know, when I was little our mom didn’t look after us well .” For the first time Mouse slowed down a little and she stared into the darkness as if she could see a movie.

“I grew up in a caravan park. Mom couldn’t to cope with her lot. She mostly screamed at us and said nasty things. Dad was absent!.. It was all too much for mom.” Mouse spoke those words more to herself than to the audience and stopped for a brief moment. Then she looked up and continued at her usual speed.  “So I took my four little siblings under my wing and made sure that they were safe. I love to care for others. I always did. And I am not afraid of work… You can throw anything at me. I just thrive on work. Give me instructions anytime and you can consider it done! But… please, please don’t ask me to be creative!” She laughed apologetically.

Then she got up from her box, bowed and blew some kisses into the crowd and added: “And thank you for voting for me. Your confidence means a lot to me! I won’t disappoint you. Promise!” With those words she disappeared behind the curtain.

“Boo!” called Monkey from the crowd “How boring. I could have done better!”

“Amateur” said Smug Little Devil. “She came across like a small town politician, didn’t she?”

Pig should have seen this. He could have learned a thing or two” commented Professor.

How do you rate Mouse?