South Africa Inspiration – Cradle of Creativity

Recently I was funded by the Department of Culture and Arts, Western Australia to attend the 19th Assitej World Congress on creating theatre for children and young people in Capetown May 2017. I attended many workshops, developed international contacts and delivered a research paper on puppetry as a form of communication with early years and special needs children. There were many inspiring and uplifting moments, I learnt much about South African culture and history, and was very excited to be part of an amazing festival and event, this is a kind of visual mood board of my experience –



New pop up shop for yardworks art, WA


In Freo, many commercial businesses have moved out and  artists are moving in, and revitalising empty spaces! Lots of pop up shops are happening in Fremantle, with artists at the heart of the towns economy, they are developing new shops everywhere. So, I have been very busy making lots of lovely hand made creations for the first yardworks art shopfront in the woolstores, fremantle, wa.


In a collective with other artists and retailers, we are sharing the overheads and using a commercial space to promote our creations and retail stock.


Its a great opportunity and location for developing the idea and concept of yardworks art, and displaying other artists upcycled creations aswell.


yardworks art is a mix of homemade artworks for sale, upcycled and lovingly made for your life. Lost and found art, oddities, curiosities, vintage and retro all for sale.


Come and have a look, open every day……..yardworks art, woolstores. 28 Cantonment St
Fremantle Western Australia 6160

Yardworks art exhibition & workshops

new hanging commission – ‘It is what it is’ 2016 – upcycled Balga tree wood ring, wire, natural material, found decorations

yardworks art has been very busy developing business with new art work on exhibition and a workshop programme developing at the new Creative Collective space at Gypsy Tapas House in Fremantle , Western Australia. Exhibition until end of September.

The new space is available to hire for creative events contact Gypsy Tapas House

Rachel Riggs – yardworks art creative director, is now running regular workshops in vintage collage, upcycling everyday objects into something extraordinary. Last weeks participants made  beautiful artworks in a relaxed evening with live music, good food and creativity!

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Check out yardworks art facebook page for updates on workshop dates and times

Geoffrey Farmer – The Surgeon & the Photographer

g farmerIf youre in London and you havent seen this yet, its well worth a visit to the Curve Gallery at the Barbican or even a repeat visit!

While not strictly puppets, in the sense they are not animated in performance. Farmer has given a magical life to hundreds of cut outs and clippings, taken from bargain used books depositories, and formed into puppets in a 90 metre parade with sounscape and video projection.

Every day for a year he crafted a character, Farmer made his scissor cuts ‘considering the relationship of his hand to the scale of the images the books contained’ , which is can be seen as akin to the relationship of the puppet to puppeteer.

From the gallery guide ‘The sculptural forms he creates have a strong animist sensibility due to the influence on his work of Pacific northwest cultures. Deities, shamans, tricksters and shape-shifting creatures with masks, wands, staffs and other magical accessories abound among his puppets.

Geoffrey Farmer – The Surgeon & the Photographer is on until July 28th 2013 at the Curve, Barbican, London


Death – A Self Portrait – Wellcome Collection, London

commemoration-L0071951”Things at the outer limits of life & death, sexualty & pain’  Phillipe Aries ‘The Hour of our Death’ (1977)

‘ars longa , vita brevis’                ‘life is short, art eternal’

I love the Wellcome Collection, its where I head as soon as Ive set foot in London again. Its iconic & eclectic collections are always fascinating ,and it rightly calls itself  ‘a free destination for the incurably curious’.

In the programme for ‘Death: A Self Portrait’ it reads ”At the heart of this exhibition are questions about art communicating ideas about death and the body. Can the production and appreciation of symbolic artworks help us to negotiate death? What function do inanimate objects play in burial and mourning rituals? How can our possesssions help to activate memories that connect us to the dead?” All these questions relate to the origins and use of puppets, and particularly my continuing by chance investigations into ancient burial relics such as in Almaty, Kazakstan with the Shamanic golden warrior women

and the Shu Dynasty sacrificial site in Cheng Du, China.

wellcome death (1)

Amongst the many artworks and artefacts Richard Harris has collected in just 12 years, ephemera from all across the globe – the ones which directly relate to the artform of puppetry are the most fascinating to me. The ritualistic and spiritual ancestry of puppetry is essentially still part of humankind’s animistic spirit. – the desire to animate the inanimate, resurrect the dead.

Amongst the many amazing images and objects, including Tibetan sacrificial skull cups and Mexican Day of the Dead masks –  the Tau Tau Indonesia wooden funeral figure immediately stands out. The figure acts as a grave guardian, produced in the image of the deceased, to honour the dead and protect their descendants with articulated limbs and what looks like real hair,  it seems he could be puppeteered to life instantly.

wellcome death  American wood & cotton skeleton puppets link to the Medieval ‘Dance of Death’, reminding us that death sets the pace for life’s dance.wellcome death (2)