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MAY - 2011


In The Window: Puppets the Eco Pirates
• Naomi Kates Workshop - Sign Up Now
• Basement Studio Available for Rent

• Hot Docs 2011: Being Elmo - Kevin Clash
• Studio Babette

Wayang Golek; Indonesia
"Egg Carton" puppet heads
Y-DO-I puppet

• John Frame: sculptor/filmmaker
Francisco Sanz
Puppetry in Sri Lanka

Perth Dupont Community Garden: Spring is Here!
• June Harlowe foods

• Zocalo

Puppets & Masks by Stanchester Eco Pirates

circus puppet theatre

The window display currently at Open Door Designs was a joint project between artist Jennifer Chin from AFCY* ( Arts for Children and Youth ) and the Stanchester Eco Pirates commandeered by
Catherine White, Captain of the infamous pirate crew.

The window display is part of a circus theme puppet project. A wooden mobile puppet theatre, was constructed, along with an A Frame sign, with a chalk board front, to display the time and date of the plays performed. The puppets represent various circus characters, performers, and animals, but true to the Eco Pirate mandate of RESPECT, animals performing in the circus is a big NO NO, so the animals in their plays run the circus, while the humans jump through hoops. The paper mache masks also reflect the Eco Pirates respect for animals. Each Eco Pirate made a mask of their own personal animal spirit.

Eco Pirates are an after school group of kids, between the ages of 5 and 11, who get together weekly to do arts and crafts, make puppets, perform plays, and plant organic gardens, just to name a few things, that reflect the ideals of the club. The Eco Pirate mandate begins with RESPECT. Eco Pirates must respect themselves, others, and the environment. They frequently partner up with other local groups on various projects to make their community a better place to live in.

*AFCY acknowledges the support of the City of Toronto through the Drug Prevention Community Investment Program.

The Purple Pirate was performed by Mike Harding of Applefun Puppetry for the Eco Pirates

Naomi Kates B.Des., D.T.A.T.I. graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. With a graduate level Diploma in Art Therapy as well, Naomi’s work and interests range from puppet craft, her own puppet shows that are works-in-progress, and adult and children’s art workshops. She also teaches a course in Mask and Art therapy and presently works in the community with senior adults and children as an art therapist.

For more information about Naomi visit her website.

In this workshop I will discuss puppetry and puppet craft as a historical genre, puppet as performance object, and then concentrate on its uses in education and therapy. I will identify a few pieces with their makers, and will discuss how they work as craft and how they function in societies through performance and uses in education with some notes about how puppets are used in politics, ministries and puppets in therapy.

We’ll include information on Cranky boxes, the history of Punch and Judy, scroll paintings, peepshows, play therapy, the differences and similarities between doll play and puppet play, a bit about puppet’s relationship to masks and narrated sculptures.

In the second section we will get into some real puppet making techniques for the classroom. We will concentrate on materials that can be made readily available and types of puppets that work well in class settings and for different age groups, focusing on elementary (below grade 8). It is not necessary to have any particular skills in art; just an avid interest and a need to apply it. N. Kates
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
LOCATION: Open Door Designs, 1597 Dupont Street, Toronto  
COST: $180.00


The basement studio is now finished and available for rent
for small meetings and events. A beautiful clean new space, there is approximately 350 sq ft of floor space. 2 tables, 12 chairs, microwave, kettle, coffeemaker, fridge and bathroom.

$15/hr - 8 hour minimum
$20/hr by the hour.

more info: info@opendoordesigns.ca , (416) 531-1290

Kevin Clash and Elmo
Fri, May 6, 7:15 PM:
Isabel Bader Theatre
Sat, May 7, 7:15 PM:
Isabel Bader Theatre
Sun, May 8 4:30 PM:
TIFF Bell Lightbox 1

Being Elmo at Hot Docs

“When a puppet is good and true and meaningful, it’s the soul of the puppeteer that you’re seeing.”
– Martin P. Robinson, veteran Sesame Street puppeteer

This Sundance Special Jury Prize winner is heart-warming and fun for the whole family. Being Elmo is the inspiring story of how a shy nine-year-old Kevin Clash pursued his dream of becoming a puppeteer on Sesame Street. Raised in a low-income community, Clash’s talents were evident in his homemade prototypes and the puppet shows he staged for his mother’s daycare kids. But it was after his first gig on a local children’s TV show that he was truly on the path. Featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes access at Sesame Street, Being Elmo captures the magic created by Jim Henson, and is a tribute to Henson’s legacy and the community of puppeteers who’ve enchanted generations of children around the world. - Karina Rotenstein

May 2011
Young Sophia
May 9, 10, 11, 12, 13
School Workshop Performances
Dundurn Castle
610 York Blvd,
Hamilton, Ontario
In conjunction with workshops at Dundurn Castle on Sophia's diary, Studio Babette presents performances of their one-act, table top play on the subject. These shows are not for the general public but are for school bookings only. A study guide is included. More Details

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made in Dundas Outdoor Festival
Dundas Museum and Archives
139 Park Street West,
Dundas, Ontario
On the grounds of the historic Dundas Museum, this quaint festival features musicians, soldiers and craftsmen of yore. Horse and buggy rides are a favourite feature. Little Red Riding Hood and The 3 Little Pigs puppet plays will also be presented.
More Details
"Egg Carton" puppet heads - mint $10ea
This charming japanese puppet Y-DO-I imported by Cole-Ackerman Co. of Cleveland Ohio is beautifully made
I would appreciate hearing from anyone who knows anything about this puppet.

Hazelle Talking Marionettes

Pete the Pirate

Rosita the Gypsy

near mint condition


large hand puppet - eastern european(?)
wood carved head and hands
20" x 20" age and origins unknown - $85

Wayang Golek; Indonesia
excellent condition

I am also pleased to say that we now have some provenance on these wonderful Czech puppets were brought into the store. They are in mint condition and we now know that they were made after 1948. They were purchased "as old" in the early 1950's.

Radek Licek from the Puppet Museum in Chrudim in the Czech Republic wrote this about these puppets:

"The puppets displayed in your slideshow are small marionettes from a serial production for family theatres. They were manufactured by Mr. Lubor Svorcik (*1911 - ?) from Pardubice, Czechoslovakia.
He obtained a licence for "a production of art puppets" in 1948. He designed and produced the puppets himself, only with a help of his wife until the early 1980´s."

The 26 puppets are about 10" tall and including the controller 24" tall. The owners would like to sell them. They are available individually @ $35 ea or the set of 26 for $780. If you would like to purchase them, please contact us at info@opendoordesigns.ca or call (416) 531-1290.


One Minute Preview of Three Fragments from John Frame on Vimeo.


(thanks Steve)

Steve Golden from the International Puppetry Museum in Altadena called last week and with his usual spirited enthusiasm told me about a visit the museum had from John Frame a sculptor and photographer (and now filmmaker) who was interested in puppets.

You will be enchanted: visit John Frame's website

You can see more images on youtube
Steve also said they had a visit from Fransisco Sanz's granddaughter recently.
Here is an excerpt from a ventriloquist Blog I found written by Marcelo Melison: "There was a famous spanish ventriloquist named Francisco Sanz. I knew about him because in my research on ventriloquism history in Argentina I found out that about one hundred years ago he visited the variety stages of my country. In his time, he was the greatest, very famous and popular, he even made some records with his different characters. The thing is that last year his family donated some of his figures to a puppet museum in Spain, and they were restoring them for exhibition. Here are some photos of that process. Remember that at that time, european ventriloquists were looking for “the perfect dummy”, as realistic as possible. The heads are more or less the standard type, but the body is really amazing… Most of these figures were standing and walking ones, and the incredible thing is the steel spring coil joining the upper torso to the hip section, I’m assuming the figure was able to move his shoulder section up and down, front and back… A very interesting animation, don’t you think"

SRI LANKA has a huge history of puppetry.





Perth Dupont Community Garden
Started just as a garden with individual plots in 2005 by the City Councillor Adam Giambrone, it has been transformed into a thriving Community Garden, and is now a center for Urban Agriculture. With ethnic and lifestyle diversity, our garden is a place to grow food, flowers, friendships, and personal social and leadership skills. READ MORE

June Harlowe Foods
1627 Dupont Street
(Between Dundas & Symington, south side)
Toronto, Ontario
M6P 3S8


Material Donations Needed

Donations may be dropped off at Open Door Designs or email Nancy Davis Halifax for more information.

fabric, wool, embroidery floss, needles, crochet hooks, old sweaters

RED WAGON COLLECTIVE was formed in 2006 in response to our desire to deepen our artistic, collaborative, and community-engaged practices through residency projects that would enable us to develop both intensive and extensive relationships in the Junction - a rapidly changing neighbourhood in Toronto's west end. We share a desire to work collaboratively with artists and non-artists to create work that inspires new conversations; softens boundaries between groups separated by age, culture, ability, and economic status; promotes the presence of art in everyday life and contributes to increasing public engagement in community development. The work we create with communities is used in producing exhibitions, public installations, and celebratory performance events.We are currently working within the walls of the Evangeline Shelter.

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