And does that make him a puppeteer in the best possible sense of the word? I don’t think so. His puppets are a great invention, but in terms of his own creative control and his ability to think up new ways to entertain himself, Fator really is a puppeteer.
I believe this is where Terry’s puppet artistry begins. He is in awe of the process of the production. If he could not make the puppets feel alive, even the simplest of puppets might feel “fake”. He uses these tricks often both in his work and in his work alone.
So many of Terry Fator’s puppets are simple, like the one on the far left below. They are so small and easy to replicate.
One of Terry Fator’s simplest puppets is the one on the far left below. Just put a stick or a paper clip in between two of the strings.
Now, place a lighter on the end of one of the strings. The strings can be any length. In the middle picture, you see how the strings extend to form the arms in one of Terry Fator’s puppet shows.
Then just take another stick and attach it to the end of one of the strings. These two ends are to be the bottom of the puppets, or, as Terry called them, “stretches and crunches”. This is especially important in his early puppets, as I had to make them much thinner to fit the paper clips. The arms can be quite intricate. Just look at Terry’s “Mint Julep Puppets”, which are full of intricately made arms.
Now take a small piece of ribbon and use one of the arms or the other legs to tie the ends of the string. These legs have a hole in them.
This works great with most of Terry Fator’s simple puppet shows. However, there are some more complicated, more intricate puppets. As I said above, at the beginning of his career, Terry was always experimenting. His puppets were made with so many different materials and so many different forms. There’s no single kind of puppet that suits all kinds of uses. You will sometimes find a puppet made with only one part; for example, Terry’s first puppets often were made with only one arm. He learned that when he wanted them to have a particular function, he attached the arm to a different limb so that they had more freedom of movement than they had any
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