In 2016 and 2019, I partnered with Chicago Public Libraries to lead interactive finger puppet-making workshops.
The first class was geared towards adults and teens and took place at the Maker Lab at Harold Washington Library. The event happened to be held on the day David Bowie passed away and students spontaneously decided to each create puppets representing an era of Bowie’s career.
In 2019, I was invited to lead workshops celebrating Women’s History Month in March and Disability Pride month in July. For these workshops, I researched various well-known people who could be recreated in a simple puppet design. The process involved simplifying some of my existing designs—Frida Kahlo, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Angela Davis—as well as creating new designs celebrating Beyonce, Malala Yousafzai, Yayoi Kusama, and others. The class, geared towards adults, introduced the pre-made puppet designs and also allowed participants to use those techniques to create their own design as well. One favorite was a Sojourner Truth puppet created by one of the students.
For Disability Pride Month in July, I created a set of puppets representing famous disabled people including Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, Helen Keller, Stevie Wonder, and more. This class was presented at two different libraries over the course of the month and attended by mostly youth. To ensure that the process was accessible to people with as many different ability levels as possible, I created not only the cut-out worksheets, but also some kits with pre-cut felt pieces that could be glued together by the participant.