Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm a Real Girl! No Strings To Hold Me Down!

I adore marionettes and their creepy charm. I don't know why but I've always been attracted to the romantic aspect of the creepy and eerie. Although, not all marionettes have to be creepy, for instance, some are sweet little things and some can be straight up works of art!I thought I might share some of the really cool puppets/marionettes that are inspiring me currently.

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Artist Paul Klee, Angryelvis, No Rules No Shame

Swiss artist Paul Klee made these puppets for his son(!) He made 50, only 30 of which still exist, between 1916-1925. I just love his offbeat interpretation of the puppet! He is best known for his paintings but his puppets are amazingg.

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Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 'The King Stag', 1918, Se Vuoi Pace

Dada artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, married to Jean Arp, was a painter, designer, sculptor and performer who was involved in the Zürich Dada movement and the Caberet Voltaire. She designed sets and puppets for the Caberet Voltaire and French and Swiss theater productions, also performing as a puppeteer and dancer. She is best known for her work as a painter, but her work with puppets is really interesting as well.

Sophie Taeuber-Arp with her puppets, National Gallery of Art

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Emmy Hennings, Dadantiart

Also involved in the Dada movement, Emmy Hennings experimented with puppetry as well. She and her husband Hugo Ball helped to found the Caberet Voltaire which was so essential to the Zürich Dada movement. Emmy was a performer and poet. She was quite the interesting lady.

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Erik Sanko,"The Fortune Teller",

Erik Sanko is a New York City-based marionette maker, artist, and musician.

I grabbed these quotes from UCLA Newsroom to describe 'The Fortune Teller, creepy puppet show from 2007:

Avant-garde musician-composer Sanko's first feature-length puppet theater work, "The Fortune Teller" is a perverse, gleeful morality fable for grown-ups that takes a twisted look at fortune and fate. One-by-one, each of the seven strangers is delivered what they have coming to them, but perhaps not what they are expecting — a brutal but suitable demise (Gluttony, a fat, smelly cook, chokes to death).

"Very few puppet theaters take advantage of their creepy factor," Sanko told The New York Times. "I'm into how potentially creepy puppets can be. They can say things that people would be uncomfortable saying."

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Pirro and the Scale (1948, Dir: Alvin J. Gordon),Secret Cinema

Yet another creepy puppet! I can't help myself...I like a creepy puppet, which is why I'm so sad I missed out on this: Creepy Puppet Films- a showing of creepy puppet films projected onto a large screen.

Secret Cinema describes the film this creepy puppet stars in:

Marionette clown Pirro imparts a valuable lesson on weight and measurement. A 1951 guide book for teachers thought that "Pat Patterson, who created and manipulates the puppet, provides the running commentary, which is warm and pleasant at its best, at worst too nervously repetitive." That's part right.

Creepy christmas marionettes! How fun!

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Puppets in Prague, flickr: Steeev
I hope to get to Prague someday and visit the marionettes. I have thought about purchasing one but I haven't done so yet. I'm not exactly coordinated so I fear I may be subpar. How humiliating.

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Punch and Judy Puppets, Flickr: Blue Dress,Thorskegga

While these aren't marionettes, I find them just as creepy and amusing.

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Pelham Puppets,Flickr: macboozle, Blue Dress

Bob Pelham, founder of Pelham Puppets, created very unique puppets and marionettes that are full of character. The company began in 1947 and brought puppets to life up until the 1980s.They are coveted today by collectors and rightly so...How cool is the Madhatter?

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Portobello Rd Marionette Girls, my own photos

When my friends and I came across these girls on Portobello Road we had to stop and watch. They were so charming!I even started to conjure up visions of marionettes dangling from my own hands as a crowd gathers around and dances along. I think others may have felt the same way because I found the girls up on youtube. It was not surprising to find others were equally enamoured with their marionette show and felt they had to share. Watch below and see if you don't start thinking they'd look better as a trio!

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Tiller Family Marionette Company, Late 19th Century, V&A Collections

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Paris Parfait

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Paris Parfait

Photograph by Andre Kertesz, Not sure

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Einstein with lookalike marionette, Tumblr: mizenscen

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Field Family's Puppethouse

Joan and Ron Field, started making marionettes in 1946. They have performed everywhere from Harrod's (back in the beginning) to Buckingham Palace to a private party for Peter Seller's children. Their children, Judy and Ann, both pursued puppetry in their lives but Ann is now a filmmaker. Ann has a few videos on youtube of their performances. Two are posted below!

Also, check out their story because its very interesting!

Joan and Ron Field, Field Family's Puppethouse

Ann Perrin, Daughter of Ron and Joan Field

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Field Family's Puppethouse

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Field Family's Puppethouse

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Field Family's Puppethouse

By Ann Perin, daughter of Joan and Ron Field

The little tidbits about the artists or makers don't do their stories justice! Definitely look them up!


  1. Will you please remove the two images of my Guignol puppets and puppet theatre above? I am having a real problem with unscupulous companies taking these images and hotlinking them to dodgy spam/suspicious sites. I'd appreciate it if you would please take the photos down. Thanks so much.