On Saturday 18th February, artist and illustrator Layla Holzer will be running a puppet workshop at the RWA in Bristol. There will be two classes, one for children aged 8+ from 10:30 until 12:45, and one for adults from 14:15 until 16:30. During the class, you will learn the basics techniques for making puppets and animate them behind a shadow screen. No previous experience is required.
For anyone familiar with Angela Carter’s work, it will be clear that puppets play a significant role in her writing. From the title of her first novel, Shadow Dance, to Uncle Phillip’s obscene puppet theatre production of the myth of Leda and the Swan in The Magic Toyshop, puppets, both literal and metaphorical, pervade Carter’s narratives. Her short story ‘The Loves of Lady Purple’, collected in Fireworks, is also explicitly about a puppet who comes to life and murders her male puppet-master:
“The puppet-master, open-mouthed, wide-eyed, impotent at the last, saw his dolls break free of their strings.”
As this passage makes clear, the image of the puppet-master pulling the strings of his puppet is a potent metaphor for gender relations in a patriarchal society, and one that Carter used frequently in her narratives.