It feels like forever since I last updated this blog. 2014 was a whirlwind of a year with lots of crazy activity–both personally and professionally. But the Thistledown Puppets blog is now back for 2015–and with an amazing new project! Thistledown Puppets has been tasked with building the puppets for a new television show that is in development called Pete and Penelope– created by Adam Bush and Stephen Posey. This show, featuring puppets, will be geared toward preschool kids with the goal of helping them develop character and their Emotional Quotient. This from P&P creator Adam Bush:
“Our show is all about helping kids develop great character. Throughout the show we’ll deal with themes like being kind to each other, controlling our emotions (even when we’re upset), and making the decision to be happy even when things aren’t going our way. There’s no better way to tackle character development then to create two characters who embody the true character of little boys and girls all over the world.”
Adam and Stephen have been developing the concept for this show for over a year (check out their blog) and now it’s time to bring the characters to three dimensional life. I’ve begun the preliminary work of doing character turnarounds and developing patterns and such. In subsequent posts, I’ll introduce you to the characters and give you access to the workshop, letting you follow along as the puppets come to life. Happy New Year and stay tuned!
We’ve gotten a jump on our annual Spring Cleaning and would like to see some puppets go to good homes where they will be used and enjoyed. They are for sale on a first come, first serve basis at prices that are much lower than they would be if they were being commissioned as custom puppets. If you are interested in any of them, please email me at email@example.com. I accept payments via credit card or PayPal.
Aslan the Lion puppet: This guy was created for a Narnia event that we did several years ago. He is 30″ from top of head to bottom of mane and has an 18″ paw that you can put your arm into to add life to the character.
Big Goat puppet: This goat was used in our video “Space Trip”, an homage to Star Trek. He can also be seen in Crabtree Furniture’s Sid’s Black Friday commercial. He is 24″ tall and has rod arms.
Mouse puppet: This little lady was a star in Alex Lucas’ Give: A Christmas Musical. She is 17″ tall and has a rod arm.
Little Goat puppet: This little guy was used in a live Three Billy Goats Gruff show we did several years ago. He is 14″ tall and has a rod arm.
Girl puppet: This puppet also starred in Give: A Puppet Musical. She is 24″ tall and has a live glove hand.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.