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.
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....
Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting the Enormous Elsewhere's Eating Animals with Exhibition Assistance Grants. Eating Animals is an installation piece by me and Alexa Fraser. Alexa and I took our piece to Atlanta, Georgia for XPT 2017 at the Center for Puppetry Arts, and we had a blast.
Wow. Spectacular. A few days ago, I went to Ottawa to check out a giant dragon and a giant spider created and operated by the French company, La Machine. Somehow, miraculously, we managed to get really close to the dragon when it woke. Later, we bumped into the spider as it roamed the downtown. Spotting the beasts on the city streets throughout the afternoon was quite neat.
Currently reading: Billy Budd and Other Stories by Herman Melville and Rod & Table-Top Puppets by Hansjürgen Fettig.
Currently listening to (obsessively): Arcade Fire's Everything Now.
I recently returned from the New England Puppet Intensive in Williamstown, MA. It was pretty fantastic. I met some interesting people, I ate lots of good food, and the setting was dreamy. I also learned a great deal, most notably how to carve wood, how to make a lantern, puppet mechanics, and painting techniques. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the movement and puppet manipulation portion of the intensive. Not a comfortable area for me, but it brought a lovely tranquility to my body at a time when I greatly need it. Back home, but still thinking about the intensive and dreaming of future projects.