August 22, 2015

Photo Essay: Unleashing a Creature of My Imagination

OK, by now I think my love for puppets is pretty well established. Working with the Muppets is yet another dream deferred.

But today, I managed to get one step closer to my furry fantasy: I took a puppet-making workshop at the soon-to-close Puppet School in LA.

And although I was the ringleader that organized the event for a bunch of my fellow LA misfits, once the class started, I was just another student, trying not to get burned by hot glue.

I love working with my hands. I find it so meditative. And as someone who loves both color and texture, I was in my element with all those fuzzy pom pom balls...

...which could serve as a nose or ears or a tail, though suited me as a newborn baby tongue.

With so many materials to choose from—googly eyes, foam, felt, feathers, fur—how could I possibly choose a creature to create, when my blank canvas was merely a felt sock, just like all the others?

In my experience, the creature created itself.

I'd glued the foam skull a bit askew, which dictated that I was going to give birth to a goofy little thing.

And although I knew I was going to make an animal and not a person, it wasn't until I found the sparkly pom-poms that I realized my vision of a new hybrid species of reptile...

...with a bumpy spine...

...a feathered head...

...snake-like nostrils...

...and a sparkly, segmented tail.

Unfortunately, evolution bestowed it with only one tiny fang, a lazy eye, and an off-center tongue...

...but it's still kind of fabulous. After all, somebody's got to love the "whatevers" of the world.

Photo: Puppet School

I'm proud of my creation—and inspired to try to make another, more sophisticated one someday—but I'm completely bowled over by what my classmates came up with. I can't imagine a better group of people to sit down with scissors and glue and create such mind-blowing works of art with such variety. Literally, no two puppets were alike. They weren't even similar.

Photo: Puppet School

I have struggled with feeling a sense of belonging my whole life, but especially since I moved to LA. But there is no question in my mind that I belonged at Puppet School today, as much as anybody else did.

And we were all so happy there, together, with our new friends.

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