Archives for posts with tag: pecha kucha

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 sunglasses

Loosing your job is a very unsettling event and you will go through a serious grieving phase. It would be strange if you wouldn’t. When it happened, my favourite puppet Devil (the first puppet I ever made) wore dark sunglasses a lot.

I so wanted my puppets to get a bit more bite and be more negative and scathing on the blog. But they ignored me. Negativity is not in their make-up. It doesn’t come naturally to them. Instead they got quieter and quieter.


In the beginning the Dedes and I had a care free life. I did workshops and wrote every morning between 7 and 9, before I trundled off to work.

Looking back at the early days with the puppets, they clearly express my attitude: “There are no real dramas! So, get over it.”

And then I lost two major contracts in my design business, and my part-time teaching job – all at the same time. Tja and everything new I touched seemed to turn to custard straight away. This was a new experience for me!


The next step up from just telling stories on the blog was the puppet films. Puppets are performers and they want to move. One weekend, when I was home alone, I created the film “Life of an Artist”. It describes the plight of an artist creating work that nobody gives a toss about. Most of us can relate to that, eh.

This lead to me running workshops where a small group of people get together to create impromptu stop motion films. It’s similar to “theatre sports” or “who’s line is it anyway”. I’m sure you get the picture. It’s hillareous. I only facilitate and observe and I put the film together in the end. This picture though, is from a different workshop. This one is called “My friend the Dede.” Here I work with older people to elicit stories. I love that particular picture. The elephant and the lady display such a wonderful rapport.

pig performance

In the third week the candidates had to perform a skills. You know by now Pig can’t do anything but drink. Surprisingly he turned his perceived weakness, the stage fright, into a strength. He performed a modern show called “the unveiling” together with his mate Professor.

Hackled by another Dede he came close to a heart attack. Pigs are prone to that when they are scared. If you want to know what happened you have to read the blog.

pig stage fright

The puppets are an amazing tool to foster understanding. For example Pig. In the first week of the superdede competition Pig froze on stage and it became clear he is an alcoholic, but for no fault of his own. In the competition he told the blog readers is because the farmer fed beer to the mother sow to make farrowing easier. So he basically suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome. It also became clear, that Professor and Pig are co-depended. A very common trait in alcoholics.


Back to the Pecha Kucha presentation why I play with puppets.

Later in that year (2012) the Dedes came up with the Super Dede competition, a three-week-long talent show leading up to Christmas. In the first week they had to talk about themselves, in the second week they had to answer questions and in the third week they had to show a special talent. The readers of the blog voted five of the puppets into the competition and in the end they also decided who was the overall winner.

Pig was put forward by Professor. And the readers selected him into the competition along with L’Artiste, Harvey, Mouse and Cash Cow (from left to right)


The Dedepuppets started out as observers of life. These two are pals from the book Hermit’s web or the few friends I need I handcraft myself, that I did in 2012. The brainy Professor and his buddy Pig. They are a couple. The professor loves to talk and drink and comes across as being intelligent. His mate pig loves to drink. Fullstop! He doesn’t say much. And in the book the story goes, he is not a connoisseur at all, he just quaffs down the wine until he is plastered.

(Note: Little did I know back then what it actually means if you have to work with Professor and Pig. Back then I only knew them from a social setting. Socially they can be fun, but at work, oh dear… you don’t want go there!)

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.

5 pillars-6

Self-regulation is the last pillar of emotional intelligence. It is absolutely wonderful when you have all these skills, unfortunately not everyone has them and there are people who will take advantage. It is important to know when to step back and let go. Smile when you can’t make a change. Show emotions when it is safe and helps the team.

I have read a lot about emotional intelligence lately and so far I only came across one article that said it is all a load of crap. In this particular article it said the bullies will walk all over you. I still think it is good to stand-up against bullies, or at least try. They will hate you, when you don’t bow to them and will step it up big time. The sad thing is, when management supports bullying behaviour, simply because it is easier not to look too closely what’s wrong with a place. When it starts to affect your health though, it is best to get out. Life is too short!