Puppeteer Peggy Artelle (my Mummy!)

This is my mom, puppeteer and artist Peggy Artelle, in 2006
with one of my puppets, Lynal the Lion.

My mother Peggy has always been a very creative person. Back in the 1970's when my siblings and I were kids she did craft projects with us pretty much every day, and encouraged us to explore our own creativity through art. I still recall as a young boy being fascinated whenever my mother made something on the sewing machine, or watching her while she painted a picture with oil paints while sitting on the front steps of our house. Without a doubt, I would not have become a creative person if it were not for my Mum! During her teens she enjoyed drawing and painting, as well as making doll clothes for her Barbie dolls, so it was quite inevitable that she would pass along her passion and joy for creativity to her kids. Today, my sister Shannon is a cake decorator and makes jewelry, while my brother Steven is a writer and enjoys drawing.

This is Dilly Daffodil, an original puppet character created by Peggy Artelle.

Becoming Puppeteers

Peggy and Mikey Artelle, 2000

In the early 1980's when I was around nine years old I became a fan of the Muppets and started making puppets and doing puppet skits for family and at school. Later, my mother Peggy helped me create and perform my first puppet show for the Ottawa Public Library. Neither of us had done any professional puppetry before, so this was quite a new enterprise for the both of us. After that, we continued creating shows together and performing them around the city. At first my mother's role was to paint the scenery, while I made all the puppets and wrote the shows. Eventually she began to make her own puppets too. We've created more than a dozen shows together over the years. Here is a list of them:

Our 1st Christmas Show (untitled), 1988
The Phantom's Christmas, 1988
The Three Billy Goats, 1988
The Case of the Snowman Toppler, 1989
The Chocolate Chip Cookie Boy, 1989
The Baseball Team, 1989
The Christmas Wish, 1989
A Space Oddity, 1990
The Pirate Mice, 1990
Jack and the Beanstalk, 1990
The Fisherman and the Golden Fish, 1992
Various skits for the Ottawa Puppetry Club Annual Variety Show, 1997 - 2011
Heroes Past and Present, 2006
Perseus and the Gorgon Medusa (An extended version of Act 1 from "Heroes"), 2008
Jack and the Beanstalk, Revised Version, 2010
The Gingerbread Man, 2014

Performing a skit with my mother for the Ottawa Puppetry Club in 2000

Peggy's Puppets
By the late 1990's or early 2000's, after assisting me with several puppet shows my mother became interested in puppetry as well. Particularly, she immersed herself in the art of making puppets. Below are some of the many diverse puppets that she has created over the years:

This is a large Camel rod puppet painted on cardboard. It's about 3 feet tall.

This is a crocodile carved from Styrofoam with fabric paper-mache over top. In 2005 I used this puppet as a Dragon in a skit for the inaugural Puppets Up Festival along with my Pythor the Barbarian glove puppet!

This is a jumping-jack style owl with flapping wings.
It's painted on cardboard and jointed at the back with a rod control.

This is a Pufflebug glove puppet, one of the puppet workshops my mother used to offer.

Here is Pumpkin Head! He's a soft sculpt puppet and stands about 3.5 feet tall.

My mother had a "spoon phase", in which she liked to make puppets from wooden spoons.
Above is a rock singer, and below is a clown puppet.

Here are some more spoon puppets... these are the Puffoons, another workshop puppet craft that my mother used to offer. She made many different types of characters. Above are Halloween themed Puffoons, below are Christmas Puffoons.

Another view of the Sugar Plum Puffoon Fairy, and the Puffoon Mouse King.

Another look at the Puffoon Scarecrow

A large puppet of the Sun!

Here is country bumpkin Tiller Cobbs

A Zebra in overalls! This is one of my favourites!

This is Anna, a character that my mum made at one of Noreen Young's workshops. My mother was always very sentimental about Anna, while I always thought she was a bit creepy. Well, I'll include her here anyways!

Here are some Blacklight puppets.

These are rod puppet figures for The Little Drummer Boy song, made from construction paper.

A large soft-sculpt flamingo rod puppet.

 Rod puppets for a craft workshop.

My mother also likes shadow puppets. Above is a circus scene shown from the puppeteer's view.

Here is a small portable shadow screen used for workshops.

This is Tappy from my mother's show, Tappy's Talking Drum, created in 2000.

Some additional characters from Tappy's Talking Drum.

Characters from the Tortoise and the Hare

At one point both of my parents were into puppetry. They performed their own show The Tortoise and the Hare on a number of occasions around the city.

Here's my dad, Robert Artelle, performing one of my mum's puppets in 2008. From the very start in the late 1980's, my dad always made all of the puppet staging that we needed for our shows. On occasion he would also be our sound technician too! Around 2008 by parents began doing puppet shows together, and presented a puppet variety show at various locations throughout Ottawa. They were also very active with the Ottawa Puppetry Club.

My mother and I in 2006 at the Puppets Up Festival where we performed Heroes Past and Present.

Performing shadow puppets with my mother (behind me) in 2011 at the Lumier Festival.

My mother Peggy talks to the audience as I hold up her camel shadow puppet.

Another photo from the Lumier Festival taken during the day. My mother created this jester shaped lantern which is also a shadow puppet screen!

In 2011 my mother and I started selling hand-made toy puppets at various artisan events. Here she is in 2015 at the Puppets Up Festival.

The End

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