XPT 2018

 Scene from The Boat of Bones

Scene from The Boat of Bones

I recently returned from a week-long trip to Atlanta, and I'm already missing its fiery heat (late May in Ontario is sweater weather, this year). I was in Atlanta because had a stop-motion film in Xpermimental Puppetry Theater (XPT) at the Center for Puppetry Arts. I love being part of XPT for many reasons. The puppetry is innovative and interesting, the show is wonderfully put together by Tim Sweeney and Wade Tilton, the environment is supportive, and I get to hang out with puppet/mask people and talk puppets and masks for a whole week, which are two of favourite things to discuss. Also, I'm quite taken with Atlanta - it's a great city.

So for better or worse, I made a film called The Boat of Bones. It's based on a dream that I had when I was a kid.  I've never made a film before, I've never done stop motion before. It was hard. I wasn't thrilled with my puppet or puppetry, but I learned heaps and I found the whole process intensely interesting. I'm immensely grateful to XPT for giving me the opportunity and necessary deadlines to motivate me to make BoB. The week after I finished the film, I said I'll never do it again, but you know, I might. 



One of my projects this month was a commission for three seagulls from the Lennox & Addington County Museum & Archives. They needed the seagulls for a display.

For years, I've been wanting to make a seagull sculpture. When my daughter was a toddler, we would walk along Queen Street in St Catharines to get to Montebello Park, and peering out from one of of the windows of one of the grand Queen Street houses was a gigantic and totally delightful seagull sculpture. It was huge. We loved it. It was by Alice Crawley, a local artist who passed away many years ago, but who was an integral part of the creation of the Niagara Artists Centre (NAC), which is an organization that is dear to my heart and, honestly, transformed my life.

So seagull sculptures - one of the most enjoyable commissions I've had in ages (and I get some pretty fun commissions). Sculptures pictured above in their various stages. 

Currently listening to: My running mix on Spotify. Obsessively, because this month, I need energy. Also listening to the Tragically Hip's "Depression Suite" on repeat. It may be my favourite of their songs, plus it's helping me cope with neverending winter.

Currently watching: snippets of this and that, but no real time for delving. Dreaming of losing myself in a movie at the Film House. Soon. Soon. 

Lantern Making Workshop for ITS


Looking forward to hosting a lantern making workshop on April 14 from 12-3 with my pal, Alexa Fraser. We're holding the workshop at the Niagara Artists Centre and as part of the In the Soil Festival.


Also on the go: a project for Xperimental Puppetry Theater at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, an installation for In the Soil, a wolf mask for a photographer, three seagull sculptures for a museum, shadow puppets for a play - plus teaching workshops. 

Currently (re)reading: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Obsessively listening to the spotify playlist for Big, Little Lies (still).

Two Big Puppets

In the fall, I was hired by the Calliope Collective in Kingston to design two huge puppets for a winter solstice festival. Members of the collective assisted in the building on a weekend in early December. The Oak and the Holly Kings wound up being about 10' tall each, and each puppet was puppeteered by three people. Josh Lyon, one of the members of the collective, made a video about the puppet-making process and about the festival itself. 

Clown Noses and Tentacles

clown noses

Fall has been filled with varied work and it seems versatility and the mental agility of an octopus are necessary for me to make a go of it as a freelance artist/mask and puppet designer. This fall I've made huge masks and normal-sized masks, I've made masks I've designed and masks that were commissioned, I've made small puppets and medium-sized puppets and designed eight-foot-tall puppets, I've made clown noses for a university class, I've taught mask and puppet making to children and adults, I've had a show of my masks, I've made watercolour and collage illustrations for a play, and I've puppeteered. Surely I'm missing something.... I love how challenging and varied freelance work is. I'm seldom board, but what's made my work life even happier is my recent discovery of Hoopla (I know, I'm the last person to discover it). This weekend, I will finish listening to The Soul of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery and after that I'll listen to Kraken by Wendy Williams. Yes there's a theme here....