Roxy Cleo – My First Rod Puppet

I have recently enrolled on a puppetry course with The Theatre Royal Plymouth and People’s Company. I absolutley love puppets, having grown up with Labyrinth, The Storyteller and Fraggle Rock, puppets have always been fascinating to me. I have tried to make puppets a few times through the years with varying levels of success but this is the first ever rod puppet.

My puppet Teagan.

I enrolled on the course because I suffer from anxiety disorder which is affecting my life negatively especially when it comes to sharing my children’s stories, I am really proud of them and want to share them with more children without it causing issues to my health, mentally and physically. Pushing my comfort zone to it’s limits seems like a good way to do that for me. So far I have to say it is brilliant, I am ready and at a point where I want to become more self confident. I have completed three of the ten sessions and even though it is terrifying I am loving every one. I do not think I would of been ready to push myself socially this time last year, it has come up at the perfect time for me. It will not be a cure for my anxiety but might just remind myself that life and people aren’t always so scary in fact the group I am in has been amazing and accommodating of my limitations. If you are even slightly interested in trying one of The People’s Company courses (they do a range of them) I would highly recommend them.

However it has made me want to play with different kinds of puppets, the photos of tiny rod puppets (puppets controlled by rods) was so inspirational that I had to try and make one. I have lots of work to do but when inspiration strikes you have to go for it.

So I sat down with my needle felting supplies, I haven’t needle felted since I have recovered from repetitive strain in my shoulder. I am not sure where Roxy Cleo came from, one minute she was a ball of wool and the next moment her little face emerged, fibre arts really do work like magic! The shoulder pain was so worth it to see her little smile.

I created the teeth and claws with polymer clay, they are so tiny I was worried about loosing them in the oven! It was so fiddly to glue them on and they are quite sharp but they finish her little features off so well.

Her body is sewn from scraps of fabric and if you look too close (don’t) one leg is a lot longer than the other. I had no plan of what she was going to look like and no pattern so I just made it up as I was going along, using what felt right. I cannot put into words how proud I am of those tiny shoes, they are made of felt and have little twine laces that are laced up! It was so fiddly and now I am wondering if I could make them even smaller some day!

For her rods I have used floristry wires which I had available, they aren’t really strong enough especially on her head, if they were stronger then she would have more motion but that is trial and error. I would plan more in the future and source some more suitable hardware.

I really love how she came out, Lilly Webbling suggested the name Roxy and Harry Webbling suggested Cleopatra, I couldn’t decide between them so she is now called Roxy Cleo. I used a little chalk to weather her shoes and give her a little blush and then she had her photo shoot. (You can see a video on my Instagram page too.)

I would love to make more puppets, it is amazing to see something I have created come to life with a little personality. I am excited to learn more on my puppetry course and hopefully be able to breathe even more life into little Roxy Cleo. I hope you love her as much as I do.

Thank you for reading my blog and meeting Roxy Cleo,

Samantha x