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Something's Afoot

I feel like, for some people, the Aardman Academy is kind of left field and wanted to give a little update. It’s something I’ve mostly kept to myself because it’s nice to have art that’s just for you and honestly, the look people give me when I, as a black person, say my name and puppet in the same sentence has been enough to keep me from sharing very much. But, here we go.

In 2021, I was able to attend Eugene O'Neill's National Puppetry Conference (held virtually!) where I performed at my first puppet open mic! (It was rough but I had fun!)

and studied The Language of Materials and Objects under Alice Gottschalk.

About a month later I took Bernd Ogrodnik's Foundation Course to Puppetry Mastery (I have not mastered it but I am trying!)

Over the summer, I attended a few free webinars.

screenshot of a post that says: im sobbing i needed to know the dimensions for a box for teatro lambe lambe and this video is making me with with joy thank you so much mr. sam

From October to November, thanks to the National Capital Puppetry Guild (of which I am a part), I was able to learn Teatro Lambe Lambe from PuppetSoup.

picture of inside a cardboard box with painted tile flooring. theres a block that represents a desk at the center with a small piece of cardboard as the cash register. a brown cut out stick figure is standing by it, with a wire coming out of its back and going through a whole in the cardboard box off to the side. behind them is a crooked cardboard urinal attached to a green and red graffitied background.

Teatro Lambe Lambe is perhaps the closest theatrical performance I can think of to stop motion (I could be wrong of course! This is just my experience.) I learned how to make a miniature set, small characters, storyboard, and put it all together!

Later that year, Chicago Puppetry Festival allowed me to attend Manual Cinema's (You may know their work from Candyman, which was a huge reason I wanted to take this class!) Storyboarding For Puppetry Course.

storyboard of a scene from willy's wonderland where nic cage is mopping as a monster comes up behind him

I created one of my first storyboards: There's No PTO for PTSD

In Spring 2022, I took History of Object Performance in the Black Atlantic with Paulette Richards through the generosity of Chicago International Puppetry Festival.

I also spent time working on my first Muppet, which I paused on only because at one of the Women & Masks presentations I was at there was something said about how intentional you have to be about a puppet's head, like what can live in there and such, so I needed to calm that for a bit.

a brown felt body with green felt arms as the upper body of a muppet sitting on a brown table

Near the end of the year, I was able to go to the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.

picture of three main character puppets from porgy and bess

Before learning that I would be attending Aardman, I became a Puppeteers of America member and had planned on attending the 2023 National Puppetry Festival this summer (my payment plan was hoping money would fall from the sky).

Currently, I am in Unit 2/4 for Stop Motion: Frame by Frame Animation by Coke Riobóo and Lourdes Villagómez through Domestika. I’m learning at the moment, how to make animation with cut-outs!

I’ve been doing this while working and going to school full-time and I never thought I’d be able to get where I am right now. Thank you to everyone who has ever listened to me infodump, taken time out of their day to watch my little animations, and shares what I do. I really love it and I wouldn’t be here without you. I hope you’re well!