Welcome Back!

Hello, fellow readers! So sorry for the long time away, but hopefully with a new semester of classes and teaching starting, I’ll have some more wonderful posts for you!

Just wanted to share a few photos of the wonderful fur I’ve ordered from Mendel’s in California.  They are the only supplier I use to buy my puppet fur, because they are AMAZING! I have been beyond thrilled with their customer service, their quality of materials and shipping, and their vast inventory of fur textures, colors and patterns.  Plus they do so much more than just fur!! Go to their website and check it out. You won’t regret it. PLUS from now until September 5, 2012, everything in your order is 25% off!  WOOHOO!! 🙂

I ordered these furs for my advanced puppet class this fall.  They use them with the Mostro pattern from Project Puppet.com.  The results are wonderful! (and hopefully I’ll be able to upload photos of their creations this summer as well in the next few weeks!) Again, this is the only supplier I use for my patterns, as they are wonderfully designed, easy to follow, and practically foolproof!! (To date, I’ve used all their patterns in the monster and simple series, with students aged 7 to 17, and no one has failed to finish a puppet yet!)

Enjoy the photos below, and check back soon for more updates!

Monster Hair Plug fur – lime green base with teal “plugs”

Monster Hair Plug fur – teal base with green “plugs”

Monster Hair Plug fur — Orange base, pink “plugs”

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Puppet Pandamonium Part 2 – The Video Links

I finally had the time to update my YouTube account with all the videos we have made in Puppet Class at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts.  And so, in an act of shameless self promotion, here they are, in all their glory — links to the lovely shenanigans and puppety fun we’ve had over the past year at TCCA:

 

Fall 2011 TCCA Puppet Class proudly presents….

Meet the Crew

For each session of my class, we start performing with our puppets by conducting interviews with them.  This allows the kids to learn how to match their voice to their puppet’s mouth movements (and vice versa) and really helps them develop their puppets’ character.

The Talk Show

The Fall 2011 class had a big idea when it came to what they wanted to do for their final video project – they decided on a Talk Show where I (playing Harry, the Big Brown Furry Guy Talk Host) led their puppets through a series of interviews to develop the story about a Mayor in New Puppetdelphia that was giving the citizens a hard time.

Where’s Derp?

The Fall 2011 class continued their videos with the Adventure of “Where’s Derp?” – a continuation of the story from the Talk Show where we find out what happened to Derp when the Mayor imprisoned him.  (I love children’s limitless imaginations!)

Gallery Talk with Coco 2

Gallery Talk is one of my favorite projects to do with the kids is to have their puppets go around the art gallery and pick out a piece of art they like.  They then give a brief critique of it – who created it, what it is made of, and why they like it.

Gallery Talk with Sherbet

**The Fall 2011 class videos were created using my iPad 2 and iMovie.

 

Spring 2012 TCCA Puppet Class proudly presents….

Welcome to Puppet Class

A behind-the-scenes look at our class, who our puppeteers are, and watch us making some of our puppets.

Puppets and Letters

This year’s class decided they wanted to do some videos using their puppets to help teach younger children letters, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results! All these videos were extemporaneously spoken from a brief outline we created during class.

Gallery Talk with the Puppets: the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition 2012

Another session of Gallery Talk, this time with art created by school-aged artists all around the state of Ohio – the finalists for the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibition show for 2012.

Puppet Bloopers

Many of our bloopers aren’t captured on camera, unfortunately, but here were a few that we did manage to get! Enjoy! 🙂

**The Spring 2012 class videos were made using my iPhone 4 and iMovie.

 

Muppet Mayhem – Finding Supplies

One of the challenges I face as I teach my “Intro to Puppets” class at the Tuscarawas County Center for the Arts is where to find the supplies for the kids to create their puppets. Luckily, the internet has a lot of vendors that are absolutely fantastic to work with and offer quality supplies at reasonable prices.

These are my top three vendors I use for patterns, materials, and supplies. I hope you will use them as well!

Mendel’s on the Web – a San Francisco, CA based company that offers LOADS of art supplies for those of us on the bohemian trek. I have ordered puppet fur from them and absolutely loved the quality material they have sent. For my puppets, I use their Punky Muppet fur and absolutely LOVE the results. You can find them on Facebook.

Project Puppet– ProjectPuppet.com is where I buy all my puppet patterns (to date, I own 6 of the ones they offer… I’m close to investing in the last three). They are easy to use, understandable, and best of all, affordable! My students have no trouble using their website to order and print their patterns for class, and in the unlikely event that we’ve had an issue (to date there’s only been one and I’ve used this site for three years), the customer service team at ProPup is amazing! I can’t say enough good about these people. They’re fabulous. 🙂 In addition to patterns and supplies, they also offer video tutorials and a photo gallery of finished puppets for inspiration. Talk about awesome! 🙂

Speaking of Tutorials, I HIGHLY recommend this video series from Creature Works’ Tom Stewart. He uses the Project Puppet.com Roly Poly pattern for his video demonstration that covers basically everything you ever wanted to know about puppet building but were afraid to ask, including a blinking eye mechanism tutorial. (It’s so great he’s inspired me to make my own video series in the next class that I teach.)

Puppet Planet – This website is from Michele Acquin in North Carolina and has a lot of resources for puppeteers. There’s a great FAQ page that helps explain about copyright issues regarding puppets as well as a supplies page where you can purchase a variety of items. I personally love the ability to purchase post-and-washer attachable eyes. (If you’re lost about that, watch Tom Stewart’s tutorials. He’ll explain.) Reasonable and fantastically friendly, I love Michele’s site, her creativity, and willingness to share her puppets with the rest of us!

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So there is a little bit of background and logistics for finding puppet materials nad supplies. I hope this has inspired you to make some puppets of your own!