Christopher Lutter-Gardella | Visual Arts

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christopher3.JPG

Christopher Lutter-Gardella | Visual Arts

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I am a sculptor and theater artist who believes that there is a deep-residing need for hands-on, kinesthetic creative work. Puppetry combines materials exploration, an engaging hand-crafting and invention component, and an intersection of movement, language and imaginative theatrical invention—all of which provides a holistic sensory and brain-development experience, as well as a broad appeal to a wide range of learning styles. I work predominately with waste materials and place a strong emphasis on the ecology of my waste-to-art process, teaching the science and the environmental intersections of the various materials used.

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Sample Programs: Customizable To Site’s Needs

Residencies

The Puppet Farm: "Waste-to-Wonder"

Use everyday recyclables to create an assortment of puppets! (Artist can work with any given theme or existing script works.)

Hand Puppet Theater—Using a variety of household waste materials, students will make hand puppet figures and showcase them, at the end of the week, on the puppet stage! Script-work, physical and vocal theater training, musical accompaniment and small group collaboration also may be included.

Homemade Parade—Make a huge dragon, a gaggle of frogs, a herd of wild animals, undersea creatures, insects … you name it! Choose a theme and we’ll make a parade!

Marionettes—Using scraps of wood, screw eyes, fabric scraps, string (and other things!) students will create string-operated marionettes. Puppets will perform on the marionette stage at the end of the week. Marionettes offer the opportunity to study—and experience—the basic laws of mechanical physics!

Fast Art for a Fast World—Wire hanger insects, paper bag beasts, milk jug doves, soda bottle spiders, paper carton fish—students will learn how to transform everyday recyclables into fun puppets and masks … FAST!

 

Moving Mouth Puppets (Muppet-style)

This style of puppet, made famous by the Muppets, is generally comedic and marvelously endearing. Using foam, fabric and “do-dads,” participants craft their own unique, moving mouth puppet. 

The making of these puppets entails a fair deal of cutting and hand-sewing (with large needles and thread) of thin upholstery foam and various fabrics, from faux fur to burlap. Mustaches, glasses, hair-dos, props and costumes give these puppets their specialized characteristics. In the end, participants can give their puppet its own unique voice and even teach it to recite a poem, tell a story or crack a joke!

 

Traditional Glove Puppets

Using clay, papier-mâché, fabric, paint, fibers and other decorative elements, participants craft highly personalized characters for the hand-puppet theater. These puppets are also known as “Punch-and-Judy-style” or simply “fist puppets.” The variety of materials used in the process make for a very rewarding hands-on experience, from sculpting the head and hand-forms in clay, to papier-mâching, cutting, tailoring and sewing of costumes; and painting and gluing-on of details. No experience is necessary!

 

Performance

The Miracle of Lorestan

Drawn from an Iranian urban folk-legend, this shadow puppet presentation tells the story of a small child, lost in the chaos of war, who is taken in by a kind bear. When parents and villagers find her, the bear teaches about compassion and living in harmony. This form of puppetry is heavily influenced by the Indonesian shadow puppet tradition. Includes a Q & A period and a behind-the-scenes demonstration.

 

Workshops

Be an Animal! Mask & Movement

With ready-made animal masks provided by the instructor, students will learn the basics of mask performance. The workshop may culminate in a works-in-progress presentation to fellow schoolmates. Folk dance movement motifs may be integrated into workshops with younger students.

 

Waste-to-Wonder

Participate in a workshop in Eco-conscious mask and puppet construction. Use everyday household consumer packaging waste such as cereal boxes, grocery sacks and soda bottles to construct unique mask and puppet creations.