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!
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.
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
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.
Times are busy in the Thistledown workshop. I’ve been so happy to be a part of some really fun projects. My hope is to be able to share some of the work here over the course of the next few weeks.
This little guy was commissioned by Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. They have a television station for the hospital and he will be used in some of their programming. It was fun bringing him to life.
Ramon Ramirez, creator of Teacher Toons, sent me this image from a recent interview he did with his new Thistledown puppet. We’re looking forward to seeing more from Ms. Carrie Oki!