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It is amazing how a confluence of events can lead to inspiration!

A couple months ago, I received a phone call asking if I would be interested in adopting some puppets (I need more puppets like I need an elephant to house and feed). But the story was compelling – a woman’s father had passed away, leaving behind numerous puppets he had built years ago as an educator and puppeteer, and no one in the family wanted them. So I drove over to Long Beach, MS and picked up six suitcases of lovely and well loved puppets created by Dick Strasser.

Cranky2Some I am gratefully keeping, and some have been adopted by other puppet lovers. However, I had no idea that the old, wooden suitcases some were stored in would become part of a whole new experience:

I had been invited months ago to create a puppet theater piece for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art inspired by the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I’d had several ideas, but had not started building when the idea of a “crCranky3ankie” occurred to me. I’ve never used one, and only seen pictures of them, so decided to use one of the old suitcases for the crankie frame. I found cardboard tubes and other materials around the studio to make the spools using the design from In The Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre‘s Puppet Cookbook, and voila! IT IS SO COOL! There is nothing like simplicity to create magic!

I painted about 50 feet of 11″ paper for the show, storyboarding it all out first – and painting any text backwards, so it would show only as lit from behind. A few scenes in the story involved live painting, so I would have to splice in some new, unpainted sections in order to perform it again. I should do that some day and film it…

Post performance at Ogden Museum.  photo credit: Kimberly Krause

Post performance at Ogden Museum.
photo credit: Kimberly Krause

Anyway, the audience loved it, and I am soliciting interest in starting a Crankie Club! Two members are already all in! HERE is some additional inspiration.

Respond using the comment bubble at the top if you’re interested! And share with other potential Crankie enthusiasts! First meeting in January! I can’t wait!!!

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