It doesn’t have to be rubbish – and they don’t have to be puppets! But making puppets – or anything, out of stuff is great to do. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to experiment, explore, create; to pretend, act out and perform. For the last ten years or so, I’ve been running Rubbish Puppet Making Workshops – in different locations: in after school clubs with young children, residential care homes with older people; on art therapy courses; in community centres and at festivals – and now I’ve gone and made a video tutorial!
It was through making assemblages from found objects that introduced me to the world of puppetry. The cats and mice I was constructing from the abundance of plastic tat I was accumulating, were crying out to move! A chance meeting with a puppeteer, who visited an exhibition I was curating, opened the portal to puppetry and I was to never return. This combined with my growing obsession and utter contempt of litter and consumerist waste: jettisoned me forth.
New to the craft of puppet making and riddled with both self-deprecation and determination, I called my creations ‘Rubbish Puppets’. Crude as they were, they spoke fervently, out to confront human’s selfish and abusive existence and disregard for the planet. The rubbish that humans were producing/polluting was reinventing itself. Rubbish Puppets were rising up. They were raw: often not worthy of the label ‘puppet’ for they did little more than jangle. They were crude and poorly made. But they were free: borne from the gutters, saved from the landfills and learning to dance they tooled up ready to take their chance!
Watch out for the Rubbish Puppets!
Here’s a gallery of puppets and things made by people at the workshops…