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Take a Seat


The Connecticut Guild of Puppetry is seeking to raise scholarship funds to assist attendees of the National Puppetry Conference as well as the Puppeteers of America National Festival.  For this, we have created Take-a-Seat project.  9½ one of a kind chairs created by Connecticut based puppet artists will be up for auction until January 31, 2015.  Please take a moment and help support our goal.

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Take a Seat


The Connecticut Guild of Puppetry is seeking to raise scholarship funds to assist attendees of the National Puppetry Conference as well as the Puppeteers of America National Festival.  For this, we have created Take-a-Seat project.  9½ one of a kind chairs created by Connecticut based puppet artists will be up for auction until January 31, 2015.  Please take a moment and help support our goal.

If you would like you may donate directly to the Guild's Scholarships Programs, 100% of your donation will go towards our Scholarships.

Donate to our Scholarships

For the last 15 years, the guild has held an annual fundraiser to provide scholarship assistance to attendees to the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.   As the returns on this fundraiser have dwindled, it has become apparent to our event organizers that a new direction is in order.  Board member Donna Mark came to the table last year with an idea that a local arts group had tried last year with success; take pallets, build small chairs, ask artists to decorate them and then auction them off as a fundraiser.  

So, last May, a small but merry band of Guild members gathered for a mystery membership meeting where they were asked to help take a stack of wooden pallets, dismantle them, pull lots of nails out and build the pieces into child size decorative chairs.  The guild owes an incredible debt to Fred Thompson who, as the hours grew long, volunteered to take all the remaining materials and finish them at home in his spare time.  Following this, a number of CT-based puppeteers were approached about putting their artistic vision on the chairs.  Selecting these artists was no easy task as Connecticut is and has been home to a number of talented artists and puppeteers.   The Guild is immensely grateful to the 10 artists who donated their artistic vision and time to this project; without their participation this amazing project would not have been possible.

The wooden pallets were kindly donated by Wayne Barneschi of Scare Crew Productions, Inc.

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Guild 40th Anniversary Chair


Guild 40th Anniversary Chair


Signed by current and past Guild members with Guild Logo and "40 Years" painted by artist Sarah Thuerling.

Winning HIGH BID: $110.00 
By Adelka P.

 

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Harry Potter Chair


Fred Thompson

J. K. Rowling’s series of ‘Harry Potter’ tales and the visuals incorporated in the several films of the same name were the inspiration for the images on this HARRY POTTER chair. Acrylics, decoupage, and applied wood and glass comprise its makeup.

Harry Potter Chair


Fred Thompson

J. K. Rowling’s series of ‘Harry Potter’ tales and the visuals incorporated in the several films of the same name were the inspiration for the images on this HARRY POTTER chair. Acrylics, decoupage, and applied wood and glass comprise its makeup.

 Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson has been involved with puppetry since 1947. Over the years his interests widened to include theater and dance, devoting most of his time to the craft and technical aspects of live performance. Puppetry has been a constant and he currently is on staff at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference in Waterford, Connecticut.  Fred has taught at Fairfield University, Yale Drama School and several Puppeteers of America festivals.

Winning High Bid: $400.00
By Karen B.

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Little Chair of Horrors


Marty Robinson

"It is inspired, of course, by my work on "Little Shop of Horrors".  The carnivorous plant is poised to chew a hole into anyone daring enough to sit on her...only metaphorically unfortunately...in reality she is rounded and sanded to a lovely and comfortable smoothness, sealed with Austrailian Timber Oil."

Little Chair of Horrors


Marty Robinson

"It is inspired, of course, by my work on "Little Shop of Horrors".  The carnivorous plant is poised to chew a hole into anyone daring enough to sit on her...only metaphorically unfortunately...in reality she is rounded and sanded to a lovely and comfortable smoothness, sealed with Austrailian Timber Oil."

Martin P. Robinson has been a professional puppeteer since discovering that it was the perfect link between acting and sculpture. A 1974 graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he has worked for Nicolo Marionettes, Addis Williams, Bob Brown, Paul Ashley, Bil Baird, Jim Henson, and for five seasons of Spitting Image in England. As a puppeteer on Sesame Street since 1981 he has won Emmys for his characters Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, Slimey the Worm, and those Yip-yip Martians. During his
spare time he performed the Cat in the Hat on the Nickelodeon series; The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. His company, Hairy Edge Productions, has designed/performed Allegra's Window and Blue's Room on Nickelodeon and Oobi on Noggin. Teaching has become an important aspect of his professional life as the senior puppet coordinator for Sesame International, hiring and training puppeteers for productions in Canada, Mexico, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Germany, Russia, Bangladesh, France, India, Indonesia and Ireland. Film credits include Follow That Bird, Muppets Take Manhattan, Elmo in Grouchland, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Producers. In 1982, Martin designed, built and performed the plant in the original Off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors for which he received a Drama Desk and an LA Drama Critics Award. He provided the same services for the incarnation of the show that was recently on Broadway. Martin also designed for the production of Frogs at Lincoln Center, and two productions with orchestra for Carnegie Hall. Martin also designed and built puppets for a live production of Nickelodeon's Go Diego, Go! This live show toured the country with twenty large scale jungle animal puppets and a huge talking tree from Robinson's shop. At the O'Neill Puppetry Conference Martin was twice a guest artist; developing Jackstraws in a Wind Tunnel and Pigeon Holed.

Winning HIGH BID: $200.00 
By Jeff C.

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Fairy Tale Chair


Michael Graham

I chose to decorate my chair with scenes from some of my best loved fairy tales and folktales. Some are well known; others, possibly obsure. 
For my puppets and scenery, I mosty use a technique called stippling. Apart from that, I tend to draw and paint very small. I needed to find a way in which I could decorate the chair. I combining the stippling with my small designs to create the fourteen “panels.” I was inspired by and drew from favorite children’s book illustrators and artists whose work I love and admire. 

Fairy Tale Chair


Michael Graham

I chose to decorate my chair with scenes from some of my best loved fairy tales and folktales. Some are well known; others, possibly obsure. 
For my puppets and scenery, I mosty use a technique called stippling. Apart from that, I tend to draw and paint very small. I needed to find a way in which I could decorate the chair. I combining the stippling with my small designs to create the fourteen “panels.” I was inspired by and drew from favorite children’s book illustrators and artists whose work I love and admire. 

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Michael Graham’s interest in puppetry began early with a gift of a Pelham marionette and a Shari Lewis book. At thirteen, Michael began performing as “Michael's Marionettes” for birthday and Christmas parties.          
He has been performing professionally since 1978 when the Spring Valley Puppet Theater was established with Michael Graham as its Director. He designs and builds his puppets, scenery and writes the scripts.
He performs primarily in schools, libraries, park and recreation departments, museums, theaters as well as at several Puppeteers of America festivals.
Michael's production of “Jack and the Beanstalk” was awarded the 1994 UNIMA-USA Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry by the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette.
He has been a guest instructor at the University of Connecticut Puppet Arts program, the Institute of Professional Puppetry Arts (IPPA) at the O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Naugatuck Valley Community College and Connecticut College and has presented workshops for puppetry guilds in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Winning HIGH BID: $335.00 
by Joan p.

PLACE A BID

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Freudian Slip


Dave Regan

"I'm not much of a painter as much as I am a designer so when I was presented with the chair I saw it as a wall and a floor--a space.  From there the idea just grew.  I suppose the whole thing is kind of a metaphor for my experience with project -- a simple little chair dumped me down a bottomless pit of possibility" 

Freudian Slip


Dave Regan

"I'm not much of a painter as much as I am a designer so when I was presented with the chair I saw it as a wall and a floor--a space.  From there the idea just grew.  I suppose the whole thing is kind of a metaphor for my experience with project -- a simple little chair dumped me down a bottomless pit of possibility" 

Dave Regan is a performer, designer, and builder, working variously in the worlds of human and puppet theater, with particular interest in the meeting and melding of those two worlds.  He is also a college design/tech theater instructor.  David’s career goal is to continue doing fascinating work with remarkable people.

Winning HIGH BID: $200.00 
By Bob R.

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Take a Seat on The Red Eye


Robin Hillary McCahill

"Take a Seat on The Red Eye" was conceived after several other ideas changed their mind and pushed me towards the creation of a chair made from found and re-purposed objects (as the chairs are built from re-cycled pallets). I knew I had to articulate my chair. And, since I am obsessed with birds and aeroplanes, my chair decided to become a conglomerate of owl and winged flight. When you sit in the chair you can pull back on the lever and up pop the wings and you are off on an adventure with flying aces and birds soaring amidst the clouds. Enjoy your flight on The Red Eye.

Take a Seat on The Red Eye


Robin Hillary McCahill

"Take a Seat on The Red Eye" was conceived after several other ideas changed their mind and pushed me towards the creation of a chair made from found and re-purposed objects (as the chairs are built from re-cycled pallets). I knew I had to articulate my chair. And, since I am obsessed with birds and aeroplanes, my chair decided to become a conglomerate of owl and winged flight. When you sit in the chair you can pull back on the lever and up pop the wings and you are off on an adventure with flying aces and birds soaring amidst the clouds. Enjoy your flight on The Red Eye.

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Robin Hillary McCahill

My involvement with puppetry commenced with a sculpture that became alive. I have a  background in art and mechanics. So naturally I liked making things move. The realization that one could breathe life into an object with movement and intention totally hooked me. The word "audition" terrified me. But if one is to build puppets one needs an audience. I tend to build puppets that interact with people and often animals. Experiencing folk suspending reality and communicating with the puppets is a joy.

Winning HIGH BID: $100.00 
By Joan P.

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Two Sides of the Story


Pam Arciero
This chair has my two most well known characters, Leona Lion, from Between the Lions, and Grundgetta Grouch, from Sesame Street. What's cool about them is they truly represent the two sides of my personality. I am a sweet little lioness who is curious about everything, loves to learn, loves to read, and is just a bit cheeky. Then I am also a Grouch who wants to be left alone with her smart, snarky comments to drive you away and  but is really crazy about Oscar and actually craves attention. I have fortunate to have a career that I love and let's me share all the sides of me. I can be funny, sweet, sad, crabby, and crazy; and I make a living at it!

Two Sides of the Story


Pam Arciero
This chair has my two most well known characters, Leona Lion, from Between the Lions, and Grundgetta Grouch, from Sesame Street. What's cool about them is they truly represent the two sides of my personality. I am a sweet little lioness who is curious about everything, loves to learn, loves to read, and is just a bit cheeky. Then I am also a Grouch who wants to be left alone with her smart, snarky comments to drive you away and  but is really crazy about Oscar and actually craves attention. I have fortunate to have a career that I love and let's me share all the sides of me. I can be funny, sweet, sad, crabby, and crazy; and I make a living at it!

Pam Arciero is the Artistic Director of the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and a principal puppeteer with Sesame Street and Between the Lions, performing numerous characters, most notably Grundgetta Grouch and Leona Lion, respectively. Pam has worked on many adult and children’s programs including Blue’s Clues Blue’s Room, Chappell’s Show, Allegra’s Window, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, TV Funhouse, Eureeka’s Castle and The Great Space Coaster. She has performed in commercials and films, including Fuze, Zappos, Swiftcover Insurance (UK), Sundance Myths, Sundance Film Festival, Extreme Measures, Little Monsters and Follow That Bird. As a stage director, Pam directed Elmo’s World Live, Oscar’s Big Game Show, Gotta Dance, Big Bird’s Beach Party, Count Down to Halloween and A Sesame Christmas, for Sea World Orlando; Port Aventura, Spain; Beaches Resorts - Jamaica, Turks and Caicos; and Sesame Place; Open Sesame (Sesame Street) for Saudi Arabia, and Disney’s Wahoo Wagon at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles. She has directed the short film Whiskey Neat, and Between the Lions and Oobi for television. Pam has taught for the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, the University of Hawaii, California State University, Fresno, Sesame Street International and the University of Connecticut. Pam is the secretary of the Board of Directors for the Henson Foundation. She holds an Undergraduate Degree in Theater from the University of Hawaii and a Master’s Degree in Puppetry from the University of Connecticut. 

winning HIGH BID: $100.00 
by Karen B.

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Piccolo’s Chair


Shelly O. Haas
Marilyn O’Connor Miller

Piccolo’s chair is a puppet size version of the others seen here, specially built for me by Fred Thompson and decorated by my daughter, children’s book illustrator, Shelly O. Haas.  In it, ‘Piccolo’ hides among the sunflowers of his native Tuscan landscape to escape ‘Zio Lupo’, Uncle Wolf from the favorite Italian tale I tell him to encourage him to share.  Can you imagine where ‘Zio Lupo’ is lurking? 

Piccolo’s Chair


Shelly O. Haas
Marilyn O’Connor Miller

Piccolo’s chair is a puppet size version of the others seen here, specially built for me by Fred Thompson and decorated by my daughter, children’s book illustrator, Shelly O. Haas.  In it, ‘Piccolo’ hides among the sunflowers of his native Tuscan landscape to escape ‘Zio Lupo’, Uncle Wolf from the favorite Italian tale I tell him to encourage him to share.  Can you imagine where ‘Zio Lupo’ is lurking? 

Marilyn O’Connor Miller’s career as a puppeteer spans over 50 years, from the beginnings in the Detroit area as a traditional puppeteer working behind the proscenium through her work in television on the ABC syndicated “Hot fudge Show”, and finally as a multimedia storyteller using puppets, masks, mime and music.  Marilyn weaves carefully chosen folk and fairy tales from many lands to delight children and to awaken the child within.  Her signature puppets, ‘Tiffany’ and ‘Piccolo’ have become popular New England personalities, appearing with Marilyn in schools, libraries and concert stages.

winning HIGH BID: $160.00 
By DOnna M.

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Punch & Judy Chair


Students of the Puppet Arts Program at UCONN

The chair’s design was inspired by the traditional Punch and Judy puppet booths made famous across the world. Adorning the chair is a distressed poster for the irreverent Mr. Punch and his wife Judy, as well as a “stage” area complete with backdrop and curtains. However, no puppet booth is complete without a cast with which to perform. The back of the chair comes equipped with a hand sewn pouch containing two miniature rod puppets; the famous couple themselves, which can be used to perform from behind the chair. The chair itself was kept unaltered to maintain it’s natural aesthetic. All materials and fabrication were completed by hand by current UCONN students Shane McNeal and Ana Craciun.

Punch & Judy Chair


Students of the Puppet Arts Program at UCONN

The chair’s design was inspired by the traditional Punch and Judy puppet booths made famous across the world. Adorning the chair is a distressed poster for the irreverent Mr. Punch and his wife Judy, as well as a “stage” area complete with backdrop and curtains. However, no puppet booth is complete without a cast with which to perform. The back of the chair comes equipped with a hand sewn pouch containing two miniature rod puppets; the famous couple themselves, which can be used to perform from behind the chair. The chair itself was kept unaltered to maintain it’s natural aesthetic. All materials and fabrication were completed by hand by current UCONN students Shane McNeal and Ana Craciun.


Classes in puppetry were first taught at UConn in 1964 by Professor Frank W. Ballard, who had joined the faculty of Theatre Department as a set designer and technical director eight years earlier. After three years, the demand for these courses had grown so drastically that the department had to limit enrollment in puppetry classes.
Professor Ballard’s first full-length puppet production, The Mikado, was presented on the stage of the Harriet S. Jorgensen theatre as one of the department’s Mainstage productions. UConn soon became one of only two (soon to be three) universities in the country offering a BFA degree in puppet arts and the only institution in the country offering masters degrees (both MA and MFA) in the field.
Graduates of the puppetry program perform and design for many theatres around the world. They appear in, build for and manage internationally recognized television programs (such as Between the Lions) and films, write books, design toys, teach children, and direct prominent schools and museums.
In 1990, Bart. P. Roccoberton, Jr. succeeded Frank Ballard as Director of the Puppet Arts Program. In addition to the full-stage Puppet Productions that are mounted for the Department’s Connecticut Repertory Theatre, puppetry majors are encouraged to mount their own productions, which are presented at the university and toured to schools, museums and theatres.  Nearly 500 student puppet productions have been presented since 1964.

winning HIGH BID: $70.00 
By Laura A.

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The Sea Calls to Me


Jennifer Barnhart
When I was first invited to make a piece of chair art for Take a Seat, I was a little nervous--it had been quite a while since I'd done any visual art of this kind--but I was also very excited. I chose as my theme to represent the sea. Whenever I am by or in the ocean, it feels like a homecoming, and I get back in touch with lost parts of myself. I am refreshed in mind, body, and spirit.
The chair itself is a bit of a mixed media piece: paint, fabric découpage, beading and shells (most of which I have collected while beach combing). The beadwork is a bit of a nod to one of my other creative outlets that I enjoy, making beaded jewelry and ornaments.
The process of creating this chair felt a bit like a trip to the sea--it allowed me to play, and be creative and have fun, and it rejuvenated me!
 

The Sea Calls to Me


Jennifer Barnhart
When I was first invited to make a piece of chair art for Take a Seat, I was a little nervous--it had been quite a while since I'd done any visual art of this kind--but I was also very excited. I chose as my theme to represent the sea. Whenever I am by or in the ocean, it feels like a homecoming, and I get back in touch with lost parts of myself. I am refreshed in mind, body, and spirit.
The chair itself is a bit of a mixed media piece: paint, fabric découpage, beading and shells (most of which I have collected while beach combing). The beadwork is a bit of a nod to one of my other creative outlets that I enjoy, making beaded jewelry and ornaments.
The process of creating this chair felt a bit like a trip to the sea--it allowed me to play, and be creative and have fun, and it rejuvenated me!
 

Jennifer Barnhart is lucky enough to have made a living (heaven knows how) as a puppeteer and occasional human performer for fifteen years. She was a principal puppeteer on PBS's Between the Lions as mother lioness Cleo, as well as having been featured on such children's television shows as Sesame Street, Johnny and the Sprites, Bear in the Big Blue House, Oobi, and The Book of Pooh. Jennifer was also an original cast member of Broadway's Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q  (winning an Outer Critics Circle Award, along with the other members of the ensemble), and she remained with it for the show's entire six-year run on Broadway (and she occasionally swings back into the show in its current Off-Broadway home at New World Stages, to reprise the role she created). As a human, Jennifer has been seen on Law & Order: SVU  (playing a puppeteer in one episode), and she has worked regionally at The Arden Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, and at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where she played Lady Macbeth, as well as Veronica in God of Carnage, Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Stephanie Crawford in To Kill a Mockingbird, and where she is currently playing Mrs. Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" Jennifer came through the UCONN Puppet Program, and was dubbed one of the University's 40 Under 40 Outstanding Alumni. She holds a BFA in Acting with a Concentration in Puppet Arts.

winning HIGH BID: $65.00 
By Mary P.