Recently I have been at some creative ministry events, and have been disappointed. The quality of resources, especially in puppetry, is declining. So, I thought I would take a few moments and explain why I use the puppets that I use.
My goal in this writing is not to hurt feelings, create bad business, or even discourage. My goal is to help inform you. There are great puppetry resource companies, who make a great product that will last a lifetime.
The first thing you need to decide when picking a puppet is what type of puppetry you will perform. I choose to perform puppetry behind a stage. Growing up, I was a shy kid that didn’t like to be on stage. Puppetry behind the stage let me be creative without being out front. This decision immediately got rid of the puppet legs and the strings.
The second decision I needed to make was the quality of puppet I wanted. I prefer to do everything with excellence, so I needed to purchase an excellent puppet. This goes hand in hand with my above opening statement, “The quality of resources, especially in puppetry, is declining.” In recent years “puppets” have been popping up that look like, smell like, and perform like “toys.” Yes, the price is cheap… but so is the puppet. Remember, you get what you pay for. Also, I just have to say, there are some ugly puppets, and I don’t mean character I mean design. Just because you are a seamstress doesn’t mean you know how to design a quality puppet. My suggestion is to save up your dollars and purchase a quality good looking puppet; that you know will last a long, long time. A great example of this – my father gave me a puppet* he bought when he was my age, it’s still in great condition and looks fantastic. Believe me when I say, this puppet is old. The difference between this puppet, and many of the other puppets I have thrown away, is workmanship and quality materials. *When dad purchased this puppet, a different company manufactured it. Puppetsinc bought the manufacturing rights to this great design.
The third thing I needed to think about was, ease of use. Some of the puppets I’ve had over the years were not comfortable puppets to work with. The mouth was sloppy, the inside lining was loose, and the puppets body length was too short. Again, I bought toys that were disguised as puppets. A great improvement for mouth action is the “Handi-Spheres,” which is only available through Puppetsinc, through an exclusive contract with David Pannabecker Designs.
So… where do I purchase my puppets? Great question.
If you are a great seamstress I suggest this site: http://www.projectpuppet.com/
If you have money and want a custom puppet look here: http://www.axtell.com/
Most puppets that I have purchased are from this great company: http://www.puppetsinc.com/ I prefer their style, craftsmanship, and quality to any other puppet.