Thursday, October 26, 2017

My heart leaps when I think of these incredible creative moments.

Once a week, my studio is alive.
More alive than it has ever been since it was build six years ago.
I get there when I can, 
but since I started teaching...

There is laughter.
There is chat.
Creative Silence.
And wonder.

So much wonder.

I watch in awe as the puppet characters come to live 
from a piece of clay, 
through the hands of their makers.

I know this is not always an easy process.
It requires patience.
And trust.

Trust to let the creative process happen.
To let the puppet arrive, 
not always as the maker had anticipated.

The key is to let it happen.

Such joy when it DOES happen.

My heart leaps when I think of these incredible moments.

Here a brief introduction to the makers and their puppet heads in progress:
Pascale De Coninck, Jackie Flynn, Louise Clarke in my studio, 
and Greg Crowhurst via distant learning. 
(Who also joins us when possibly via video link during the Monday class)

The studio-students are almost ready to paint their puppets.
The heads are made, the hands are almost finished. 
The bodies are being assembled. 
The clothing designs discussed and fabric gathered.





The three studio-students keep on working, 
when I retreat to my house to rest. 
But I relish in seeing them through the window.
And hear the sounds.

My studio is a happy place.

Thank you all!

*I was recently interviews by Stephen from Puppet Place in Bristol- 
on how I came to be a puppet maker, and teacher.
See this link: Puppets And M.E.

* If you like to book a class...

  • The next class of three students is fully booked.
  • But I am taking bookings for 8 week studio-based-class starting in March 2018.
  • Or if you like to do a distant learning course, that can start any time. I supply most of the materials, step by step guidelines, as well as several online tutorials. 
  • Have a group project in mind?
  • For further details on all these options, please contact me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Puppets

Puppet making has its very cruel moments. No doubt about that. 
But Ciara C.  gave me the dubious title as "Puppet Serial Killer" recently. 
I wonder why? :-)

The 'girls' of the "Reflection" project  seem to be ok with their treatments.
two puppets in the making- Reflection Project by Corina Duyn
They seem happy!

Well, yes, I can kind of see where Ciara got the idea...

In my defence... it IS easier to put the hair on when the
heads are not attached to the bodies.

Defence no2: What else can I do, when the neck of one
puppet is longer than its mirror image.
I think I am more of a 'putting them all together again'  kind of maker...
No more Puppet Cruelty. 
I promise.

And if there is, I will given 'the girls' the contact details of the ISPCP
(The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Puppets)

two puppets in the making- Reflection Project by Corina Duyn
The girls are now deciding on the next stage of their clothing.

For information and images about my puppet MAKING classes, either in my studio in Lismore, Ireland, or via distant learning, please see THIS post

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The healing effects of teaching puppet-making

There is so much in my head that I like to share with you. Thoughts about healing, recovery, miraculous recovery, challenges, health, or not as the case may bebut somehow all roads lead to the beauty of sharing the art of making puppets.

puppet maker looking at a puppet face in the making - at Corina Duyn's studio
... do I know you? ...
(Pascale De Coninck with puppet-head by Louise Clark)


I so long to be well enough to get up in the morning with ease, go to my studio, or to my desk and sculpt, sew, write, share, teach. Or to be out in the garden and get rid of the weeds- but leave anything which insects and birds might like to nibble on over the winter.

The other night after another trip to hospital -this time for a planned appointment, not an unplanned trip in an ambulance - I was too tired to have a good night sleep. One of peculiarities of M.E.(ME/CFS). There is a fine balance between being tired enough to go to sleep, and being too tired. Anyway. At some point I got up again to get something to drink, and I picked up my notebook. I wrote:  ... All I have left in me are tears. I so want to just get on with my life.  A miraculous recovery overnight is VERY WELCOME. Whatever way it comes.  Thank you."

The intriguing roads to recovery

There has been so much in the news about ME lately, about very dodgy suggestions that recovery is possible, as long as you follow some weird science. Well, I am absolutely delighted if people find ways to beat illness, in whatever way, as long as people are not being exploited by quacks along the way.

I always felt that I would recover in my own time, in my own way. Through a positive mindset, understanding nature's wisdom, and be involved in creativity in all its ways. My mantra for years was "I write myself into wellbeing". And writing most definitely had a huge impact on learning to live well with illness.

I certainly have improved much from the early years, see Hatched- a creative Journey Through M.E. (1998-2006), but I am not as good as I was a decade ago. I am hopeful though, that my current adventures with all things puppet will eventually bring me closer to a level of wellbeing. Again. I am hopeful. And almost convinced.

The puppet-related adventures definitely bring me joy, and energy, 

which is not exactly a physical energy, but energy at a different level.

even the start of making feet are already showing the
different characters they are going to be

So, ... teaching puppet making in my studio

As you might know I have started to teach in my studio. One and half hours a week. Anne's Japanese Dancer (see link below under image) was the first puppet/doll. The second course with three students started almost two weeks ago. And what fun! And, I am getting better at setting my personal limits, and devising ways so my students can work further on their puppets in my studio, in their own time (or at home).

Sharing all I have learned about making puppets over that past 4 decades is enjoyable. But what intrigues me most of all is what puppet making does to the maker.  In my classes I am not overly concerned with the perfect face, but what character emerges from a block of clay. From the hands of the maker. From the inner thoughts of the maker. 

It is a truly wondrous journey.

puppet face in the making - at Corina Duyn's studio
Jackie O'Flynn working on her puppet-head

Teaching via post and cyberspace.

Greg Crowhurt's Johnny Toes-
 to be made as puppet
During a communication with Linda and Greg Crowhurst a seed was planted in my head to see how I can help Greg to bring his Johnny Toes character into puppet form. Some amazingly powerful moments have occurred. Of finding ways to teach Greg via email, photos, images, written instructions. To find ways to not expose Linda to the dangers of chemical smells of glue, or to sounds from skype conversations.
The experience the heartbreak of the limitations of living with severe ME put on just the person living with this, but also the carer. My heart goes out to them and to anyone living with the incredibly challenging circumstance.

The beauty of helping Greg to fulfill on his dream, is also how many others are getting involved. Offers of fabric for the clothing, and the weaving of the strap for his guitar.  To making suggestions to limit the challenges which undoubtedly will occur along the way.
I put a box together with all that is required to bring Johnny Toes into being. See a wonderfully excited Greg when the box of goodies arrived at his house. (see link below).

Teaching, and sharing, the art of puppet making, might not be my miraculous recovery, but it surely is bringing a different kind of energy into my life. A goosebumps kind of energy. 

Who knows where it will lead.

Anne stopped by to show us Mia's kimono

two Reflection Dancer puppets partly dresses, looking at each other in Corina Duyn's studio
My own 'girls' are starting to take shape
and seem to be having a chat...
Further reading and links