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Marionette Making

Ken Flett

All Levels
August 21st to 24th, 10am to 3pm

About the Workshop

The art of puppetry enables people to tell stories and foster self-expression through the creation of an inanimate object that comes to life through our manipulations. In this workshop participants will explore the process of making a nine-string one-hand control rod marionette. Through this four-day class each person will design and create their marionette from scratch. 

The workshop will include the initial design and sketch of the character. From these sketches each student will turn their design into a technical drawing with the fundamental understanding of proportions considered. Using their technical drawing, participants will cut blocks of wood for each part of their puppet. The arms, body, hands, head, and legs will then be carved by hand and assembled using different joint techniques to connect each element and allow for movement. Lastly, there will be instruction on how to make a controller and string your marionette with a discussion of how gravity, weight, and manipulation are essential to bring a marionette to life. This course will give you an introduction to materials, tools, and techniques used to carve a wooden puppet including the safe handling of tools and how to sharpen your knives. 

Experience with wood working power tools and use of carving knives is helpful, but not required.  No prior experience needed, just the willingness to experiment and discover the wonder of puppet making.

Day One will begin with a discussion about marionettes and a brief history. Examples will be provided of 9 string marionettes, followed by an overview of materials and stages of project including sketching a marionette and turning sketches into technical drawings, and cutting and prepping blocks of wood for each element of the marionette from the technical drawings. 

Paint Brushes

Material List


Your Instructor

Ken Flett

A graduate of the Alberta College of Art with a focus in Photographic Arts, Ken Flett has over 30 years of experience as a visual artist and educator. His early work focused on using large black and white photographs mounted on canvas or wood to create the base for my mixed media paintings. In 2012, his practice stepped away from photographically based work to one that focuses primarily on pieces created through stitching, embroidery, and mosaic followed by three-dimensional work which includes sculptures, hand-sewn figures, and wooden puppets carved by hand.

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