Beneath the Baobab Tree

We love to share what goes on behind the scenes at Barefoot Puppets. We write and build each of our shows, hand-crafting all our puppets, staging and scenery in our studio in Richmond, VA. We use a wide variety of materials: papier-mache, handmade papers, fabric (especially raw silk), dowel rods, broken hockey sticks, springs, funnels, and other goodies from hardware stores, fabric stores, yard sales, and more. Please enjoy this glimpse of what goes into the making and maintaining of our puppet shows. We hope you enjoy this backstage peek!

A lot of our fans are surprised that we make all of our puppets, staging and scenery by hand in our studio in Richmond, VA. We get a lot of questions about how we do it! We have added this section of our website to give you some insight into how our shows are created and maintained. We hope that this will answer some of your questions, but more importantly, we hope that this will inspire you to create your own works of art! If you would lke a more hands-on behind the scenes experience please visit our workshops page to find out what kinds of workshops and residencies we offer for groups.

For “Beneath the Baobab Tree,” Sam was a good sport and helped Heidi drape the fabric for the giraffe puppet.

Shannon Stott and Heidi Rugg in the studio looking at the almost finished giraffe heads.

Step by Step Progression of the Bushbaby!

Below you will see the progression of the Bushbaby, one of the hand and rod puppets from Beneath the Baobab Tree.

The head is sculpted out of foam which is then covered in fabric that was chosen for color and texture. The eyes are made from orange ping-pong balls with black marbles set into them for the pupils.

A good deal of time is spent making sure that the eyes are carefully placed to maintain good eye focus before permanently attaching them.

One the placement of the eyes is determined, texture and shading is added with an airbrush.

Finally, the eyes and ears are set, the body is attached, and the bushbaby is ready for his big debut!

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