Named for Hansjurgen Fettig, author of Rod Puppets and Table-top Puppets: A Handbook of Design and Technique (most recent edition is 1997; all editions are hard to find or outrageously expensive!), The Fettig Project will create a 3-D interactive exhibit of rod puppet mechanisms that will travel to puppetry festivals and conferences to inspire, educate, and inform puppeteers and puppet builders.
Oddly enough, interactive, hands-on exhibits were once a regular practice at Puppetry Festivals run by Puppeteers of America. The Puppetry Journal for July-Aug 1953 featured this photo (see right) with the caption reading, “One of the features of every festival is the handling exhibit. Both adults and juniors in this case Mrs Henry Lowden and Mrs Dallas Rand with juniors Robert Rossman and Larry Smith examine puppets in all stages of construction. Practically every puppeteer cheerfully shares secrets of construction with other members of PofA.”
The Fettig Project allows us to return to these roots and continue to share our knowledge so we can all keep learning and moving forward together. A way we can build puppets that move better with greater ease, allowing us to focus more energy on performance. A way to give the next generation of puppeteers and builders a leg up.
The goal? Working together we will create an interactive, hands-on display of rod puppet puppet mechs that will travel to puppetry festivals and conferences.
How? Be part of the project! Pick a design….something you have seen or something of Fettig’s that you’ve always wanted to make or something successful that you’ve come up with on your own. Create a sturdy, fully functional mock-up puppet (as in not a finished puppet that is pretty – something artfully, sturdily crafted out of newspaper and masking tape is fine) and donate it to the project!
Why? So we can build a better knowledge base for puppeteers, design and craft better puppets, create better performances, and advance contemporary puppetry to even greater heights!
When? Ongoing, but we aim to have our first exhibition at the 2015 National Festival for Puppeteers of America.
Stop reinventing the wheel! To sign up or receive more information, please email TheFettigProject (at) gmail.com. Participants may also join our Facebook Group to share works in progress, troubleshoot a design, or receive general support for their project.