Watch “Puppet Wizard, Shepherd and Sheep” on YouTube

We’ve managed to get our first Puppet Wizard tutorial video up onto utube, before helping the year 2 kids in Ashley Down Primary school make some clothes peg puppets tomorrow. This is partly a response to the teacher Charlie Baughan telling me that sometimes kids take in the information better from a video, than from being shown in person. So now this is available to them to have playing in the classroom during the puppet making activity.

We’ve actually been planning to start making regular puppet making tutorial videos for a while now, it’s just taken rather longer than anticipated to get them started. I have to confess that we’ve got a way to go before we reach the kind of production quality we are hoping to achieve, but  the best way to improve, in my experience,  is to get started.
Please have a watch an let us know what you think. I think Tula makes an excellent presenter, and Rufus is already a handy little editor. A family team!

Nativity Puppet Patterns

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Here’s some nativity character clothes peg puppet characters. Each one is printed twice, looking to the left and right so each character can have a conversation with all the others, while looking directly at them.

Tula and I filmed a video today demonstrating how to make them. Hopefully we’ll get it online tomorrow.

The Cubestar project


One day this week I realised as I pulled our front door shut that I had forgotten my house keys and a couple of hours later, on returning home from school, Tula and I found ourselves locked out of the house.
Fortunately, I did have my shed keys with me, and the one for the gates to the back lane and so Tula came and joined me in my little shed based studi



We then spent a really enjoyable bit of time revisiting a project we had started, at probably the peak of Tula’s illness. At that point she could hardly get out of bed, and having read about M.E. sufferers being bed bound for years, I insisted that Tula should walk with me down he garden path to the shed each day, which at points was excruciatingly hard work, and sometimes I would have to carry her back to the house. We never spent any time in the workshop back then, it would have been too much for Tula.
However,  I did sit by Tula’s bedside and model plasticine characters and things, in an attempt to keep a level of creative positivity alive, and hopefully not loose Tula entirely to the horrible looming depression that was inevitable during such a chronicly painful period.
Tula was mainly unimpressed and certainly didn’t want, or have the energy to join in untill one day I made this very simple



Back then, he didn’t have a hat, but Tula loved him! After very little debating we came up with the name ‘Cubestars’ and so they were born, and a much needed creative focus materialised. I then insisted that Tula do at least 30 mins Cubestars with me each day. She didn’t even have to model, if she wasn’t up to it, but day in, day out we would at least discuss the project. As we talked about the characters and what they got up to, I would sketch ideas into a pad.



We then moved on from plasticine to fimo and started to build a little world. To begin with, I did the modeling,  but as Tula became enthusiastic about what was happening, she joined it too. We did
We made loads of characters, gave them names, created scenarios, and the props and costumes they needed to enact them. Tula vetoed my idea to give them arms, so we made sure they had feet big enough to carry things on. (Tula is with me as I write this and she has just told me she has unlimited vetos and I have only 3!)
The storyline I remember most fondly is Oasis’s; Because he is made from plasticine, we decided he would go on an expedition to live in the freezer so he could be hard too. That’s why he’s got a fimo hat now. We also made him 3 thermos flasks, for tea, coffee and chai, fishing rods, fish to catch, a fish storage box and chilli sweets.
We then froze a tub of water and drilled a hole in the centre which we filled with vodka so the fish could swim in unfrozen liquid.

Eventually, Tula got a bit bored of doing Cubestars every day, so we boxed them all up and we moved on to something else.
On getting them all out again we were surprised to remember just how much we had made. They deserve a properly lit photo shoot.
Two characters, a brother and sister called Bronzo and Bronzer who have a table they sell Bronze Biscuits from still needed chairs, so on this session we made them, and also made their mum, Bronzetta.


At the moment they are all still spread out on my workbench, and Tula has been down on her own to play with them, so in my opinion,  it’s been time well spent!

More clothes peg puppet designs


Grurrr. Fell asleep after reading to Tula and missed my own deadline again. Bedtime stories can be so soporific.  I’m going to have to start posting earlier in the day to make sure I stay on target.
Anyway, here’s something I’ve been working on. These are all designs for clothes peg puppet heads, ready to transfered onto card using a light box. The heads will be cut without the bottom jaws that are drawn in at the moment, as these will be cut separately so they are free to move, therefore allowing speach and lipsyncing.

Molly Crabapple

While researching some videos people make, when filming directly from above, I came across this one by the artist, Molly Crabapple . It brilliantly shows her ability as an illustrator and a writer, but most importantly, it very clearly raises awareness for an important subject matter. Which is; immigrants in America being unjustly put in prisons, which are privately run, profit-making businesses. Sound worrying? Watch it!

I have to say it makes the type of ideas I’ve been mulling over seem rather trivial, and my drawing ability has a long way to go before I can achieve that level of competence. Still, it’s good to have something to aspire too.

If you like art and haven’t come across Molly Crabapple yet, you should check her out. To say she is prolific is a gross understatement. She has illustrated comics, books, writes and draws for newspapers, exhibits and sells her art, travelled the world to sketch war zones, started Dr Sketchy’s Anti Art School, which is a Burlesque Life Drawing international franchise and made animated videos. I came across this one a while ago before I had come across any of her other work;

I think it’s great! I’m a fan.