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


Holy Way said...

What a wonderful gift teaching is and you are extremely gifted Corina! A true teacher is one who sets the highest standards and leads by example, who inspires and encourages others to grow and develop in ways unimaginable. It has only been a short while yet my journey into puppet-making has brought enormous gifts. Not least has been the extraordinary kindness of others who have reached out with offers of material etc. Then there was the opportunity, online, to talk to other students about their puppets, their stories. I feel particularly blessed by that- my confidence in my creativity has been given a completely unexpected boost, as a result.

I am about to start working, today, for the first time in my life with clay. How amazing! What possibilities.... I am REALLY looking forward to it.

Corina Duyn said...

thanks Greg, for your heart felt comments.
I look forward to see your puppet develop, and to have you involved in the class in my studio, via video link. Enjoy the journey!