Skimpa and Blompa, my favorite trolls, are practicing for Bubblefest — a socially distanced 2020 rendition of Arlington Porchfest, happening on June 7. Want more information? www.arlingtonporchfest.org
Every two months Arlington Council on Arts and Culture highlights an artist who’s actively contributing to the Arlington arts scene. In December and January, I’m the featured artist on the Arts Arlington site sponsored by ACAC.
The artist statement was fun to write because it gave room to think about why I perform and what the work is like. Here’s the part that gets to the heart of working on a new show: My newest show is “Taking Turns,” which features pigs, dogs and bunnies. Sandra and I used needle-felting techniques to make animal puppets. We took big balls of wool and punched them with needles to create little pigs and dogs. I find that their fuzzy surfaces appeal to young children more than the painted faces of our Sculpey puppets.
Although the show opened in August I am still spending many hours each week refining the way I portray the characters. The hardest thing is to slow down, let a puppet “breath” between steps, and wait for the character to form its thoughts before I speak for it. Often, I ask friends to watch and advise. Jacek Zuzanski of Dream Tale Puppets and retired “puppet diva” Suzanne Pemsler have been terrific coaches.
This month I am a “Top Performer” on GigSalad.com! Part of the rating is that my shows have gotten 5-star reviews from parents and preschool directors on GigSalad. I hope you’ll take a minute to read their comments:
Most of my reviews are about birthday parties, which are a lot of fun. Usually I perform a 30-minute show and lead puppet making. My favorite supplies are toilet paper rolls, construction paper and yarn in all colors. Here are some photos of toilet roll puppets on the move, and a sock puppet who feel asleep guarding her pizza.
Tsai Su-jen is the troupe leader for the I Wan Jan Traditional Hand Puppet Troupe based in Sanchih, Taiwan. She and her family also operate the Li Tien-lu Puppetry Museum, which I was very happy to visit in August. Su-jen is the daughter-in-law of Li Tien-lu and puts a lot of warm energy into burnishing his legacy.
I also had the chance to see a performance by Chen Hsi-huang, who has been designated a “National Treasure” in Taiwan for puppet performance and puppet-making. Funny and beautiful!
Here is the view on a foggy morning from Yangmingshan, where I stayed with my father-in-law.
Join Margaret Moody for two funny puppet shows this Saturday at 2pm at Arlington Center for the Arts. In “Mathilda’s Bath,” adapted from a Mrs. Piggle Wiggle story, Mathilda loves mud baths — but not the soapy kind. And in “Cow and Mouse’s Picnic” two friends share everything except dessert. Come for the show, stay for coffee and puppet-play.
Tickets are $7; 3 for $20. Please pay by cash or check at the door. Best for ages 3 and up.
This Saturday we team up with Arlington Center for the Arts to offer a “Puppets Together” workshop for families, after the show. Make puppets and perform with your family! More about the class: acarts.org/classes.php