A Story Poem for Spring with Felted Flower
Puppetry Column with Suzanne Down
A Story Poem for Spring
Each month through the year, Suzanne will share with us an idea for puppet story.
I believe in story and puppetry for children that opens the heart and soul, and brings, through the listening and looking, a picture of the possibilities of goodness and truth. The movements and gestures of the puppets, the colors, quality of story voice and music, choreography, staging, and story content lifts the everyday, and creates a magic kingdom – imagination.
Children ‘hum’ with harmony at certain times….deep play is one, as is listening to a story, or watching a puppet play. Children do important transformational work when this happens. It is like a form of grace. Puppetry and story can also provide a pathway to meet the wonders the earth has waiting for them through seasonal story, song, and verse.
Our spring poem story is about a walk in nature. The puppet is upright and walking with interest and wonder in the world. A mantle of soul warmth surrounds the children watching because of how the visible puppet greets and meets the world on her walk. Her feet meet the earth, the limbs are rhythmically active, the character is observant and her heart is engaged. This is a ‘hum’. The puppet’s whole self is visibly engaged in taking in the details on her walk, with props, and colors, and relationships. The puppeteer’s imagination is warmed; the children’s inner life is warmed.
A Story Poem for Spring
One early spring day Mary went out for a walk. The sun shone warm, the sky was blue. The air was clear and smelled like fresh grass.
When Mary went walking one spring day
What did she see along the way?
A sweet white bunny hopping along,
A bird in a nest singing a song,
A garden of flowers that bloom and grow,
A wee little frog on a lily pad flow.
She stops to greet them, one then another.
She laughs and loves them like a good mother.
When Mary goes walking one spring day,
She stops and calls, ‘hello! Good Day!’
And when the day was done and the sun turned orange and red in the sky,
Mary went home to supper.
What a wonderful day it was.
You can create a spring puppet landscape with spring green silk or cotton gauze, and a light blue pond where the frog lives.
To make a Garden That Blooms and Grows:
Wrap colorful wool roving evenly around a plastic egg (the kind that are available everywhere now for Easter).
Wet felt the wool snugly to the egg form by holding the wool roving firmly against the egg with your hands. “Nest’ the wooly egg and dip it into very warm water wit a squirt of ivory liquid in it. I use a deep big bowl so I can submerge my hands with egg into the water.
Gently press the wet wool against the egg in the hot water, and again when you pull it out of the water.
I then soap my hands with a bar of ivory soap and again press, press the wool (now getting soapy) against the egg out of the water.
When the wool is flat against the egg, I start to gently rub my smooth hands around and around the soapy wet egg. Try 5 minutes.
If it feels too dry, dip it in the hot water again, but hold your hands firmly against the wool and egg so the wool does not expand.
Make sure your hands are slippery with soap and massage the wooly egg round and round with more pressure now…evenly rub the egg all over….another 5 minutes. It should feel strong and well felted now. You can tell if it is felted enough by firmly rubbing your finger across the wool. If the fibers do not move, it will be fine. If they are still loose you need to repeat the process with firm rubbing.
Rinse the soap out of the egg under warm water, finishing with cold water.
Dry excess water by squeezing the wool egg in a dry towel a few times.
Now to make the flower! Use sharp nail scissors and cut even petals from the egg top to the middle of the egg.
The ‘flowers open up beautifully.
Pop out the plastic egg.
You can sit the felted flowers on our green silk landscape, or nest them in green wool roving. They make a delightful garden that ‘blooms and grows!’
Suzanne Down is longtime Director of Juniper Tree School of Story and Puppetry Arts which offers workshops all over North America and beyond. Her free email story newsletter reaches thousands of people each month, sign up here. Her story and puppet books are available through her website. You can find her on facebook too – with her personal page and her Juniper Tree Puppets page.
Be sure to browse through her photo filled BLOG entries for lots of ideas.