Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Online Puppet Making Course

Through online books and videos learn how to sculpt a clay head, hands and feet 

and make a puppet body and cross from wood.

Course material includes basic and more advanced puppet making; 
paint instructions and clothing advise. ***
€47.50 for access to full course, or buy one segment at the time (from €7.50).
In addition, online support can be purchased. 

Two puppets by Corina Duyn lying in a basket waiting for their jackets to be sewn
'The Girls' by Corina Duyn
Waiting for their jackets to be made.

This is how I got to sharing my puppet making course with people all over the world. Join in?

Born in the Netherlands in the early 60’s, I made tiny dolls clothes on a hand-singer-sewing machine since I was about 7. I still have some of these clothes, and the fabric doll I made with my aunt when I was ten.
To make my first puppet at age 15, I followed the instructions in ‘Karakterpoppen’ (Character dolls) by Jeannette Hildersley, published in 1974. I was hooked. I borrowed several doll making books from the library, and purchased many others over the following decades. I followed a short course and private module with amazing Dutch Doll Artist Marlaine Verhelst in the ’90. Other than that all my work has been self-taught.

The work I create now is a compilation of all these experiences and explorations. Mixing and matching the techniques I learned, and adapted to my needs. Life’s circumstances have certainly played a roll too. I moved to Ireland in 1989. During the ‘90 I created ‘Fantasy Folk’ Artist Dolls, very much inpired by culture and nature of Ireland. As it was my living, some dolls/puppets were a design range, although still all original pieces.

I also did some teaching in my studio and in a group home for young people during 1997/8. There I realized the power of the arts, of creating dolls and puppets. I realized that ‘the clay would not lie’. That our emotions, thoughts, desires, fears, make their way from our brains, through our hands and into our work. This experience was a pivotal moment in my own creative development and subsequent work.

Two puppet by Corina Duyn lloking at a sculpture figure stepping out of the Disability Box

Illness changed my life

Becoming ill in 1998 changed the output, design and intensity of my work. (You can see some of the created art  and books on my website). During the early years of learning to live with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.), I was unable to sculpt as I had lost the ability to hold tools, or have the energy to hold my arms up. As I spend many years housebound - my world became small. However, this gave me the opportunity to closely observe the birds. Nature became my teacher and made its way into my creations.

Illness and resulting disability dictated the method by which I could sculpt again many years later. I adapted tools, and found new ways to work. Mostly twenty minutes at the time. But small segments of time still result in finished work. It just all takes a little longer…

Life Outside the Box

During 2015/6 I was well enough to teach again. I facilitated a puppet-making project with other people with disabilities. Over the period of about 8 months we created nine puppets stepping out of the Disability Box. We created a short film: ‘Life Outside the Box’. We all had support staff. Without this practical support I could not teach. 
This project let to invitations to give talks about Puppetry, Disability and Health in Ireland, UK, and via Skype in Brazil and Chile. Life altering experiences.

The year after facilitating ‘Life Outside the Box’, I started teaching in my studio which is in the lovey garden. The benefits were plenty: I could set up the workspace a day in advance, and three students could continue to work in my studio when I needed to go inside to rest. It was a good compromise. I could still teach, although with a much smaller group. I loved seeing the puppets evolve: each telling their own stories. 
Making puppets remains a wondrous journey of discovery.

Corina Duyn with puppet by her student- with green mohican hair style
Corina with student Lorraine Shanhan's puppet
Fagitti, trying out her hairstyle. 

Online teaching

During one of these courses I was communicating with Linda Crowhurst, a woman living with severe M.E. for 25 years. Her husband Greg is her fulltime carer. Both amazing advocates for our illness. During one communication, Linda expressed in passing that Greg would love to make a puppet. I wrote: “There is always a way”. This was the start of creating my distant learning puppet making course.

Some of the material you will explore was initially created for Greg, who made ‘Johnny Toes’. The course as you see it now, has been created in response to questions from my students as I went along. It explores basic sculpting, and more advanced techniques.

Stepping back, or reaching out

Last year my ability to teach even a small group in my studio became impossible. Over the course of a year, while teaching a few people via distant learning in Ireland, Scotland and India, I created more instruction films and documented all stages of puppet making through photos and written instructions.

But even these fully guided distant learning courses are now beyond my physical ability. Feeling a sadness to have all that work hidden on my computer, I decided to release them out of obscurity and share them with interested creatives. 

Book your course HERE 

It brings me joy to think that people all over the world can taste a little of the magic which is making puppets (or dolls). As much as I am happy to share my work, I hope that it is respected that these instructions are for those who paid for access. 
All funds raised through my course will pay for a Creative PA (Personal Assistance) to help me to still be able to create, although at yet again in a new way.

At present (autumn 2019) I continue to write a script and design props for a puppet film with the working title ‘Invisible Octopus’. More about this in a later blog. This was made possible through an Arts & Disability Ireland ‘Connect’ mentoring bursary with Dr. Emma Fisher. The bursary has also funded Creative PA support for the duration of the bursary. I would not be able to create any of my work without the help of able hands

Please explore my website/blog and social media pages to read about my work, see imagery, watch puppet movies, learn about my illness and the associating challenges, explore my books, or read transcripts of my talks, or to see where the puppet movie script will bring me in time to come.

I hope to be able to welcome on board to explore the joys of puppet making for yourself.


Social media links:

Youtube videos (not tuition ones)

*** This course material was created by Corina Duyn and draws on four decades of experience. It is for your personal use only. Please do not share this course content with people who have not paid for it. If you intent to follow this course in a group, please get in touch as I can offer discounted rates. Licenses are available for institutions, colleges, etc. Please note that having followed this course does not mean you can teach this course using my material. Please contact me if you have questions.*** 
Thank you for your understanding.


Char | ChronicallyHopeful.com said...

I am so glad you have been able to resume your passion for puppet-making! Our creative outlets are so important when we are so isolated and restricted by our illness.

I'll be featuring your post in this week's ME news rouond up. x

Corina Duyn said...

Thank you so much Char.
Sorry I didnt see you comment until now.

Delighted to have my post shared in ME news round up.

Please see my more recent post reflecting on the 'Invisible Octopus' project.