Arts/Crafts

Puppeteers

I just watched Being Elmo, an amazing documentary about puppeteer Kevin Clash’s — and Elmo’s — journey to stardom. If you haven’t seen this movie, you must. For writers, it’s fascinating to see how Clash developed the character of Elmo. Another puppeteer gave up on Elmo and literally threw Elmo at Clash in disgust. The movie shows some early clips of Elmo talking in a caveman voice, a far cry from his modern-day, high-pitched sing song.

Clash started making puppets as a precocious 10-year-old, using materials like the lining of his dad’s trench coat (whoops!). He truly was a curious kid, and his family nurtured his talents. Kevin’s dad shrugged off the trench coat incident, which amazes me. I try to channel Kevin’s dad as I watch the boys get into everything (and I mean everything).

When Finley noticed some holes in my socks, I thought making some sock puppets might be fun. After all, the boys enjoyed making paper-bag puppets in the past. I let the boys select buttons for eyes. They both picked red stars,which I sewed on. Then they picked yarn for hair, which we glued on. Cooper picked some psychedelic blue hair, while Finely went with brown with touches of blue. Then we made shirts and scarves out of fabric scraps and attached them with glue.

So far, the boys have been having a great time playing with Puntoff (Finley’s) and Rocko (Cooper’s). Puntoff’s favorite thing to do is bite my finger. He’s a silly one.