Puppetry Workshop with Rene Baker
Photographs by Andy Catlin for Puppet Animation Scotland
I travelled up to Edinburgh recently to take part in a puppetry workshop led by the internationally renowned puppeteer, director and teacher Rene Baker. The workshop was focused upon creating a puppet from found materials – in particular found pieces of wood, whether that be from coastal or woodland walks.
Whilst the aim of the workshop was to create a puppet from found materials we were also introduced to the basics regarding the manipulation of materials for performance. Not coming from a performance background I found this particularly interesting as it prompted be to consider different qualities of the materials that we were using.
Performativity isn’t something that comes naturally to me so I felt quite anxious and self-conscious being asked to parade my ad-hoc puppets in front of a small audience. However, as the workshop progressed it dawned on me that the audience’s attention was on the puppet rather than me – the puppeteer – which gave me a little more confidence.
I was impressed with how much knowledge was crammed into this two day workshop. In addition to covering the manipulation of materials we were also show numerous different ways of creating joints and control mechanisms for puppets, as well as ways in which gestures and movement can imbue a puppet with character.
I’ve dabbled with creating a couple of glove puppets here and there over the last couple of years but I’m feeling inspired to branch out a little from here now to see what this new knowledge about puppets and puppetry might bring to my practice.
All Photographs by Andy Catlin for Puppet Animation Scotland