Now that spring has sprung here in San Francisco, it’s high time for a new Meadowlark puppet show. The Meadowlark puppet show is always a special moment in our weekday morning music class. The children sit on their parents laps as we all sing… “Mother of a fairy tale, take me to your shining land…” And then the handmade puppets emerge from their basket to help tell the story of a song.
This particular puppet show is momentous for me because this time, I’m trying a new kind of puppet. Up until now, I’d always used needle felted figures like the ones used in Waldorf early childhood education. If you follow my blog, you know that I love needle felting. Needle felted figures have a wonderful softness and subtlety that is difficult to duplicate in any other medium. Working with wool roving, as you do in needle felting, is the sculptural equivalent of chalk or watercolor. It’s fluid, intuitive, smeary, always changing. I love that.
However, as I bring the class to new venues, I’ve started to feel like another kind of puppet might serve us better– something larger and a little more touchable. But I’m determined that it be no less magical! So this week, I set out to create, for our next puppet show song, some hand puppets to help me tell the story of a Japanese folk song – Zousan (Elephant).
From creating patterns, to purchasing materials, to sewing the actual figures, a new puppet show means lots of activity around our house! And now that Ember is four and a half, and actually able to help in some very real ways, it is truly a family affair.
Here are some glimpses into how we made them.
If you’re interested in learning more about Waldorf doll making, I highly recommend Sarah’s Dolls as a good first stop for patterns. You can download them right away, so no waiting! And they’re very affordable. You won’t find the pattern I used here, since I made that one from scratch. (Though I’d be happy to share it with you!) But you will find many wonderful patterns there for dolls of all sizes. I made Peregrine her first doll from one of Sarah’s patterns, and I found the directions incredibly thorough and easy to follow.
I hope you enjoyed this little preview… 🙂 And if you’re raising little ones in the San Francisco Bay Area, come check out Meadowlark Music Class to meet them in person!