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The Carrot Emerges

Puppetry as ART

A Puppet Artist's Statement

 To be a puppet artist is to set a visual feast in motion- and  to bring life to the life-less.  We playfully explore story employing art forms popularized in 19th century Europe; toy theatres, pop-up books and crankies or scrolling backdrops. Though puppetry is largely performative, it is also visual art in motion.  For each puppet show, We start with a seed, and then we engage in research, design, craft and finally, building. We explore various mediums and discover new avenues of expression.  The puppet characters that emerge from these explorations become beings in their own right, as they have thoughts, wishes dreams and stories that belong to only them.  Paper, cardboard, wood, fabric, paint, rubber stamping, illustration and sculpture all play significant material roles.  A certain kind of magic happens in the cohesion of all the elements in my visual story making.

Fundamentally, Possibly Puppets uses color, character, and story to explore themes of greed, loss, and emotional and environmental stewardship.  Some of these stories come to life, others simply have a moment in the sun to plant a seed for a larger tale. We are committed to using recycled and discarded materials as much as possible. The performances have all been created intentionally for the purpose of sharing with the public. If someone just happens by, they catch a song, and a cohesive visual scene- and perhaps this splash adds a bounce to their step- and renders the world slightly better.

Public art is fundamental to Possibly Puppets' vision and dreams, removing art from the confines of galleries and theatres and into parks, libraries and public squares allows all walks of life to enjoy. It has the power to pull out stories that connect us to place. It exits from behind closed doors and into community spaces. We direct  out efforts and providing free performances for audiences by working contractually with libraries, museums and schools. The beauty of puppetry is in its infinite permutations- and puppet-esque visual artwork that can live outside of a performance and still suggest a story.  We believe art should surround us and envelop us in all its forms. It renders the mundane magical and extends our ideas of what is possible.


Berkeley based artist and educator Risa Lenore Anderson Dye is known for her creative energy in teaching and for her engaging puppet shows. She is the main puppet designer, builder, and storymaker for Possibly Puppets.  For over 20 years, she has been teaching theater, storytelling, creative movement, puppetry and visual arts at elementary schools, preschools and beyond in the San Francisco Bay Area.   She holds a BA in anthropology from Beloit College. She attended Jacques LeCoq’s school of international Theatre in Paris, France; the physical theater school and the laboratory of movement studies.  She continues to expand her puppet knowledge with courses and by attending conferences and festivals.  Risa started her artistic career as a visual artist and discovered improvisational theater and experimental dance in college. She performed with small dance companies in San Francisco in the early 2000s as dancer, physical actor and storyteller. She is an award-winning costume designer with Theater of Yugen in San Francisco, and continues to use costumery in her work. Presently, working mostly with found paper, fabric and wood, she playfully combines colors and textures into visually rich puppet theatre. Risa explores the themes of greed, loss, and environmental stewardship in her tales. From 2019-2020, she was an artist in residence at the El Cerrito Recycling Center and built all new puppets and stories. Many of the stories found in the refuse at the recycle center continue to nourish her creations today. Risa believes that through education and exposure the puppet art form can expand, and more people can access this truly wonderful art form. Since 2013, she has performed original puppet shows hundreds of times for family audiences through the San Francisco Bay Area. As desires for more experimental and boundary-pushing work grew, Possibly Puppets emerged from Jelly Jam Time Puppets, puppet shows designed for early childhood audiences.                                                                                                                       

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Daniel Gill is an educational puppeteer, early childhood educator, and teaching artist living in San Francisco. Daniel began his puppet training at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Los Angeles. He has also continued his professional development at the Puppet Therapy Diploma Program, the Jim Henson Foundation, the O'Neill Puppetry Conference, and the Puppets in Prague program. Daniel now serves as a teaching artist in inclusive and Autism-focus classrooms in San Francisco. He works with Marsh Youth Theater, StageWrite, and San Francisco Children’s Art Center and is launching his own educational puppetry company called The Puppet Circle. Daniel is very excited to be performing again with Risa Lenore of Possible Puppets.    


            Other artists will be brought on board for consultation and direction for Possibly Puppets projects- choreographer, storyteller, musician and additional puppeteers as needed.

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