Parade Puppets are life-sized, single-operator rod puppets designed to be displayed at peace marches, parades, vigils, and other public gatherings. They function as eye-attracting, memorable, mobile message carriers. Since 2001 much of my own puppet making energy has gone toward making Parade Puppets carrying a specific peace message. My Peace Puppets have been displayed in galleries as well as carried in parades and peace marches. Student-made Parade Puppets have participated in dramatic presentations and community parades.
The Parade Puppet workshop requires at least five sessions, with several days of drying time between the sessions. Winter is an ideal time of year for this workshop because puppet heads and hands placed on top of radiators dry quickly and thoroughly; fans can be used in warmer weather. Kids ages 1o and up have made Parade puppets with me in School and Community Recreation Center programs. Adult members of the Evanston Neighbors for Peace worked with me in five of their weekly meetings to make their own Parade Puppets. The resulting portable sculptures ranged from expressionistic to realistic.
The Highland Park, Northbrook and Evanston Fourth of July parades have had their own Peace Puppet contingents for the past four years. My Peace Puppets are designed to be light in weight and easily carried. The papier-mâché head, shoulders, and hands of the puppets are the only solid parts; most weigh around ten pounds, including the backpack-based carry rig and the wooden center pole. Rolled up, a 7-foot puppet (with carry rig, banner and pole) can be packed into a 29″x29″ cloth bag, with the pole sticking out a couple of feet at the top—small enough to be taken onto public transportation.
For further information, or to arrange a Peace Puppet residency for your organization, contact me.