I’ve always toyed around with the idea of opening an Etsy shop to explore some fun things on the side. Well a couple of weeks ago, that became a reality. I combined my love of puppets with my enjoyment of beard growing and created Lil’ Beards, a place where the beard and moustache can be immortalized in a fun way…specifically with finger puppets. I plan to fill the shop with all kinds of puppets of famous bearded men through history, but my favorite aspect of the shop is my Custom Lil’ Beard where I make finger puppet versions of clients’ beards and staches. It’s been quite a hit so far, and I’m having the time of my life. Check out the About page for more info. If you or someone you know has a furry face, consider getting a Lil’ Beard for yourself! You can see a few samples of what I do below:
Eric Bandholz from Beardbrand
Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty(puppet not for sale).
Sy Robertson from Duck Dynasty (puppet not for sale).
Each puppet comes packaged in a specially printed box
I recently had the privilege of working again with Ramon Ramirez of Smarty Cartoons and Teacher Toons. This time we developed the principal from his Teacher Toons world, Dr. Antoine Patterson. I love Ramon’s style–I think it translates very well into three dimensional work. Below you’ll see Ramon’s original character design and then a few shots of the finished puppet. Stay tuned as Ramon is working to get some videos up and running.
This summer, we were commissioned to build puppets for the staging of a children’s book called “Lilly the Lash and the Garden Gathering” by Julie Woik and Marc Tobin . There were three puppets: a large sunflower, a small spider, and a small lady bug.
Sunny the sunflower’s face is approximately four feet wide and is worn by the puppeteer.
The performer can control Sunny’s mouth and move her eyes side to side while the puppet balances comfortably on the waist.
Arnie the spider has wiggly legs and glows under a blacklight.
And the lady bug has an adorable little night cap and slippers.
Most people do Spring cleaning, but here at Thistledown Puppets, we do Summer cleaning. As part of that, and to make room in the constantly expanding workshop, we’re selling several puppets. This is your chance to own a Thistledown puppet at a fraction of the cost. Below is the breakdown for each–if you are interested in any of them please e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to send you a PayPal invoice and discuss shipping details.
1) A large girl puppet with one live hand. This puppet includes two costumes–one sweater and one pajama shirt. This character was used in Give: A Puppet Musical, produced here in Roanoke a couple of Christmases ago. (This girl and the following boy can also be sold as a set for $900)
2) A large boy puppet with one glove hand. This puppet also comes with two costumes–one shirt and one pajama shirt (custom sweater not for sale). This puppet was also used in Give: A Puppet Musical. (Can be sold with the above girl puppet as a set for $900).
3) A cat puppet. This was the Alley Cat from Give: A Puppet Musical. He has one glove hand and an intentional “shabby” or “mangy” look.
4) A smaller redheaded boy puppet. This puppet includes arm rods and one costume.
5) An owl puppet. This little guy was used in our “Countdown to Harry Potter” YouTube video several years ago.
6) A puppet head. This head is the same size as the redhead boy puppet. It was intended to be created as a companion, but we never got around to completing it. All you would need to do is build a body with arms and maybe add a hair feature and this puppet would be ready to go.
7) A box of vinyl scraps. There are three solid colors (about a half yard of two, a quarter yard of gray) and two “snakeskin” colors (about one yard of each). These scraps are sold as one box–not separately.
I will sell these on a first come-first serve basis, so get in touch as soon as you can!
Last year, I worked with Rob Whent, President and CEO of Think-2-Learn to develop a cast of puppet characters for an upcoming project titled “Leo and Friends”. I had built the Leo alien puppet a few years back and he now has a bunch of fleecy friends to hang out with. Head over to Leo’s Facebook page where you’ll see photos of the cast on the set of “Leo and Friends”, plus you’ll get to see their video audition for Amazing Race Canada. Have a closer look at the puppets below.
Leo on set
Exciting news! There is a new workshop coming to North Texas this summer–Beyond the Sock: Puppetry for Television and Film. Are you interested in learning what it takes to design, build and perform with puppets like those used in some of America’s most beloved productions like Sesame Street or The Muppet Show? Want to learn puppetry techniques from the professionals behind the characters? The opportunity is yours!
The worshop features puppet building tips from our good friend, Project Puppet’s Pasha Romanowski. You’ll also learn to puppeteer with acclaimed Muppeteers Noel MacNeal and Peter Linz. Registration is now open through May 15th. Space is extremely limited for this rare event, so sign up today!
Walter and Weatherby. These are two rabbit magicians that I built last summer for Kids on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Fun characters.
I was pleased to work again with Kids on the Move in Tulsa, Oklahoma to bring two new characters to life. These vultures are loosely patterned after the Thenardiers from Les Miserables. I’m looking forward to seeing these two in action.
I recently built a modified version of the Mushu character for a staging of Mulan by the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School‘s drama department. The puppet is built to be worn by the performer and attaches to the waist. The performer’s hand enters the back of the head and the legs attach to the thighs to give the illusion of walking.
I was pleased to work again with Ramon Ramirez of Smarty Cartoons (I previously built Ms. Carrie Oki for him). It’s always great to work with Ramon. His cartoons translate so easily into engaging puppets.
And speaking of puppets, this guy is Rosendo. He’s a reporter…and a bit of a ladies man. I got to do some things on this project that I hadn’t done before such as hand making shoes and a microphone. The puppet’s hand is connected to the mic, and the mic is controlled with a rod.