I stumbled into the world of puppetry after a long search for a medium that "fit." Puppetry is the oddly logical conclusion to my search for a medium that combines my widely varied interests in storytelling, folklore, world cultures, symbols, archetypes, performing, and the visual arts.
I work with a wide variety of puppetry styles – hand, rod, object, and shadow. Puppets can disarm an audience with cuteness; they can transform silliness into seriousness on the turn of a dime. Puppetry carries and conveys messages with gestures, movements, and sometimes (but not always) words. My work is geared towards young audiences and their families; I strive to spark curiosity.
Puppetry allows me to look at the world through childlike eyes. Sifting through folktales and children’s literature, I carefully excavate stories and themes that speak to me and have a timely sense about them. I whittle away at my findings to create a script; then, working by hand, I use a combination of natural fibers, fabrics, handmade papers, wood, and odds-and-ends from the hardware store to create the puppets and scenery. Natural materials have a textural quality that feels alive to the eye.
My choices in materials are deeply influenced by environmental concerns. Most recently, my work with materials has led me to the ancient art of feltmaking, which I have been working to incorporate into my puppet building. Working with my hands, entangling fibers, and creating solid form from the raw wool has connected me to my work in a very visceral way. I am amazed by what wool fibers can do -- even more so after learning that wool sequesters carbon! At fiber festivals, I have come to know local shepherds and can source materials from people and sheep that I know, often by name (both the people and the sheep). Knowing the people, the animals, and the mountains where they roam brings me joy that I carry into my work. I connect with my work on a deeper level by knowing where it comes from and how it impacts the environment. This intentional discernment of materials has become vital to my process. My works for the stage are imbued with the same sense of care that I work hard to bring to each performance. I am ever conscious of my audience and the interactive nature of all my work. My work in puppetry has connected me with schools, libraries, and institutions involved in educating the public, especially young people. I have worked with many educators seeking to leverage the engaging nature of puppetry to bestow a similar engagement to their subject areas. In my work with these audiences, I have journeyed (via puppetry) to the Galapagos, traveled back in time, and explored a multitude of storyscapes. I cannot wait to see where it takes me next.