With memories of last year’s mega successful Christmas Craft Smackdown! floating through my head, I rearranged the tables again this past weekend and invited some folks over for Crafternoon Number Two: The Autumn Craft Smackdown. This time around, the theme was “Puppets and Marionettes”. Some of us really enjoy puppet theatre and always wanted to give puppet making a try. While signing up for the Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse is not in the cards for most of us, an afternoon of puppet making most definintely was!

Armed with some basic ingredients and an “I’ve never done this before but we are gonna wing it and see what happens” attitude, we were off. Just like last year, this session turned into a 12 1/2 hour Craft-a-thon fueled by spirits, a taco bar, creativity, great music and laughs. Here’s a round up of how it all went down!

All of our marionettes began as sketches. Some more detailed than others, but all very helpful to keep us focused.
Jed sketched out an ambitious mighty dragon marionette!
Brianna began sculpting her two marionette designs out of paper clay. Brianna was a crafting machine once more!
I wanted to make a 'not so fantastic' Mr. Fox marionette, and it started out looking like a chihuahua.
The dragon starts to take shape! It was super cute, even without its ferocious teeth.
Soon, puppet parts were forming, wire was getting twisted, and paint started slinging. It also looked a bit like a puppet shop of horrors with all the body parts layout around.
This is at about the 7-8 hour mark...such a dedicated group of creators!
The mighty dragon got his undercoat of paint long after the sun had set!
Our creations were all shapes and sizes. This was Gordon's freshly painted giraffe's head waiting for it's body!
I love this photo, as Rachel's puppet parts look like little severed lady fingers! Perfect for the studio that makes severed thing cat toys!
Brianna was the first to string her creations and we all waited jealously to see her first dance!
And voila! Here is one lovely lady, built entirely by hand by Brianna. She had awesome dance moves thanks to some clever wire work in her legs!
A seal head for a yet-to-be-finished seal body. Paul said something about fashioning it's body from found objects, perhaps even my vacuum cleaner.
A wobbly robot who punches himself and a mechanical space robot bug from another planet, as produced by Brianna and Laura!
My finished fox puppet, complete with ascot, ready for his solo!

As is usually the case, I cannot show you all the finished and unfinished items, as they are works in progress and will be making their public debuts elsewhere. What I can say, without a doubt, is that we have some creative friends, and I cannot wait until all our puppets get together for a dance off! Thanks to Jed, Brianna, Gabriel, Rachel, Laura, Paul, Kate and Gordon for making our our little puppet lab such a huge success!