Whatever your own experiences may be with puppetry – and almost all of us have probably seen a puppet show at some point during our lives, or watched a TV programme making extensive use of puppets – it can be all too easy to see this remarkable art form purely as a source of entertainment.
Well, there’s no shortage of human-interest stories demonstrating that this is not the case, including several that caught the eye of the Puppets By Post team over the festive break.
How puppets can help us to heal
One such story, from BBC News, was that of professional puppeteer Raven Kaliana. She was trafficked by her own parents, but now assists those who have undergone similarly traumatising experiences in life, through her use of puppets – including with her latest show, Love vs Trauma.
As Kaliana has explained, “Puppetry can be a very powerful medium for talking about things that are difficult, because it allows a sort of one step removed kind of way to talk about it. It’s a symbolic medium. It’s a metaphor.”
After graduating from university, Kaliana moved to San Francisco, and was hired by renowned puppet maker Folkmanis Puppets. Today, she runs an organisation called Outspiral, which helps to educate on human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and trauma recovery through the medium of puppetry.
She added: “I want people to be able to see that no matter what terrible things you might have been through in life, you need to commit to caring for yourself and creating a nest for the lost part of yourself to come home.”
Great work is also being done with puppets in Dundee
However, Raven is far from the only person who is helping to boost wellness for a wide audience through the use of puppets. A recent article by Dundee’s Evening Telegraph newspaper, for instance, looked at how an innovative social enterprise is encouraging vulnerable local people to use puppets to express their own feelings.
Deborah Chapman – known as Debz – was inspired to set up the project after discovering that she was suffering from depression and anxiety while studying time-based art and digital film at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.
She created a puppet of herself, which she called Little Debz, while her partner Mark McGreehin also made a puppet of himself, with the two of them using their puppets to speak to each other about mental health.
Today, Debz and Little Debz visit groups in Dundee and assist them in opening up about mental health through puppet-making workshops and drama sessions.
She has said about her work, and the role of puppets in what she does: “People can say what they like and people don’t judge them in the same way they would judge people. Using puppets removes any identity issues and helps people explore how to deal with real-life situations which they find difficult.”
Why not get your own 2020 off to the best possible start?
You might be looking to buy people hand puppets or animal puppets, or it might be character designs, finger puppets or even accessories that you are searching for this New Year. Whatever your exact needs when it comes to all things puppets, Puppets By Post can cater to them.
Furthermore, when you place an order worth more than £10, we’ll be able to deliver it for free. So, don’t wait any longer to treat yourself to the puppets that will serve you best both personally and professionally throughout 2020.