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Friday, January 26, 2018


I came by the blog world, just to show some of what I consider the best blogs to a teen-aged violin student who loves to write, and is curious about blogging.... and was reminded of how much I enjoyed it.... got a bit nostalgic, so i'll post some pictures of my latest creative efforts.  I'm recently returned home from 2 1/2 weeks at the Puppetry Intensive at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in Banff, Alberta.  The town of Banff is in Banff National Park, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. It's stunning.  And the Banff Centre is built on the shoulders of Sleeping Buffalo Mountain, which sits in the centre of the town of Banff.  Sleeping Buffalo Mountain is a place sacred to the first nations people here. It's a place of power.  

For 2 1/2 weeks, we studied movement, and gesture, and the subtleties of bringing inanimate objects to life.  During this time, we were never allowed to use words to bring life to our subjects.  No language to convey ideas and intentions and stories, other than the language of gesture, of movement, of focus and intent. It was magical.  A little, a small part each evening, of our time, was spent actually creating puppets, and learning the mechanics of their construction.    though I didn't manage to finish anything, I do have a few partly completed things to show for my time:

 This is the first stage of a rod puppet, yet to be paper mache'd and painted.  He's a little over a foot tall.





This one is a mask, used in exercises experimenting with spacial relationships and groupings. That's my hand behind it, for scale. 













 Here is the same mask, along with my 'puppet soul', a soft 'stuffie' used to learn to manipulate objects as we learned to give them expression and gesture, without words.  We walked our souls, interacted with other souls, explored our surroundings through them, and told stories with them, all without the spoken word.  







This fellow has a ball and socket armature in his head and neck, with a rod in the back of his head, to enable it to pivot up, down and sideways, in a realistic way. The wooden rods at his sides are the beginnings of arms, with leather hinges at the elbows. He'll have the cloth body and arms of a small child. He is destined to be an infant philosopher, I think, and tells me he wants curly hair, and a twin sister.  He's a rod puppet, so the central rod is how he is supported.  There will be one or more rods to his hands (when he gets them) to enable his hands and arms to move realistically.  
After 3 weeks away (at a very nice kennel), Maestro was extremely glad to be home. I felt the same way.  

Back to teaching music lessons four days a week, running a boarding house / B&B, and finishing an online course in property management.   And I wonder why I can't find time to finish the puppets.....?!