Lisa McDonald claimed at the end of this workshop; she would have us all picking up out marla and making puppets.

With a degree from IADT, Lisa is now a successful stop-motion and experimental artist and tutor. Yet, has the meaning of “experimenting” disappeared? Overcrowded by fine art and mainstream animation.

“You have to find the meaning of experimentation for yourself,” Lisa said; if you expose yourself to the fine art ideas, you will find your way of telling a story.
Stop motion animation has an underlying eeriness, and this is what attracted Lisa to it. Even in famous claymations like Wallace and Gromit, this strange undertone is captivating but hard to define.

To further make us understand, Lisa shared her favourite animation, EAGER, by Allison Schulnik. A short film-ballet of hypnotic puppets morphing in the dark. A clever combination between flower and animal movement. To me, watching this animation was like seeing magic, always out of reach.

However, Lisa guided us down the rabbit hole of tricks and basics of building a stop motion puppetry, the types of kits and tools accessible. You could even go to your art shop to buy Milliput, or rummage through the rubbish bin to find copper wiring. The tools of puppetry and animation are always right in front of you. It’s all close and real.

Most people might be put off by the immense patience you may need or by getting the movement realistic. Lisa gave us the best advice; “if it looks right, it is right, if the movements there, primarily you can make something beautiful… and if something has meaning, it brings value.”

The attraction to puppet animation is that the beauty is right there in front of you. As I felt my eyes wander around the desk, finding earphones, a pencil, an unopened pack of Blue Tach and spilt paper clips. Can these bits and bobs in front of me animate a world?

“We all have a film brewing in our minds,” Lisa said, as time and inspiration can be just as important as the puppets in an animation.