i. I work as a:
Props and puppet Builder and general maker for theatre. Currently working on Carousel Theatre for Young People’s Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In a Play”.
ii. I do this creative work because:
If this were not my work, I would be making and creating anyway. Having my need to build be a part of my job means I get to work on larger projects with other people, which is amazing.
iii. Personal qualities that help me in my work are:
I am part artist, part engineer, and part organizer. All three are equally as important to be able to do my work well.
iv. The greatest challenges around doing this work are:
I am a freelancer, so finding and negotiating work is always a challenge. But then I get to work on projects that present different and unique, problems to solve, which is the good kind of challenge.
v. Creative childhood hobbies:
Basically any craft thing I could get my hands on; beading, sewing, making and building with cardboard and paper, I had an old rotary phone I took apart and put back together a number of times.
vi. Other creators who inspire you:
Ronnie Burkett, Laura Kampf, and the work created by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop.
vii. Training that has helped me in this career:
I hold a BFA in photography from Ryerson University, and a diploma in Theatre Tech from Douglas College. Even though the work is different, my time at university was invaluable in gaining the ability to critique and talk about work that is very close and personal to someone in a way that leaves them feeling positive about the collective solution. This has been incredibly important in an industry like theatre that is collaborative.
viii. A common trap that can hurt people in this career:
Burn out. There is a feeling that when you are getting work you can’t say no to anything, because there is no guarantee about the future. But this is in no way sustainable, and taking care of all aspects of your life makes you better at the jobs you do.
ix. Some proud career moments:
I once received a note that during one show there was an audible gasp when a puppet I had made of Cerberus (the three headed dog who guards the gates of the underworld) was brought on stage.
x. If you want to work in my field, I suggest that you:
Spend time learning how to communicate, collaborate, and listen. I have found that being good at a job is one thing, but being a good communicator can make someone easy to work with.
xi. A professional goal I have for the future:
I would love to work on a show that is built and revolves entirely around the puppets. (Maybe with Old Trout Puppet Workshop?)
Header Photo: SW