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Kinetic Fish SculpturesExpired

Jul 11, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Pacific

What You'll Do:

Join puppeteer, sculptor, and storyteller Dave English for a three hour tour of his puppet studio and online education laboratory as he leads you through the steps of making your own jiggling wiggling kinetic fish sculpture. Walleye, Bass, Crappy, Mackerel, Catfish, or even Shrimp! It’s all fair game. Heck you can make a land animal if you want to live that life. It is your creation! Dave is going to show you some construction methods, tools, materials, techniques that he uses as a professional puppeteer.

Participants should have at least one person per group who is comfortable using some basic wood shop skills for the wood cutting part. This project also offers hands-on opportunities like assembly and painting for younger participants. Work alone or as a group to make a fun wooden-jointed fish sculpture that moves like a real fish that you can display on your shelf, porch, boat, windowsill, etc.

Skill Level:

The most basic requirement is safety and close guardian engagement. Some of the tools used in this process are dangerous and not to be operated without training and supervision. I am speaking of the bandsaw, sander, and several of the hand-tools.

It would be rewarding for a young person to observe the wood cutting process and assist in the assembly and painting of the fish. This would be a lovely family experience for people who have a bit of a woodshop and like to be creative.

We're going to be safe, positive, and creative.

Skills you will learn:

I will teach the participants how to use some basic wood shop skills to make a fun wooden-jointed fish sculpture that moves like a real fish. They will be able to display their creations on their shelf, porch, boat, etc.

What You'll Need:

This is the basic list of tools and machines that I use. I might pull out some things not on the list once we get going.
  • 1/4" to 1" thick wooden boards or scrap. Save money and find scrap. If it's weathered that is a bonus. You'll want at least two feet of board.
  • #0 sized eye screws and other various sizes of screw- eyes or eye screws. Same thing!
  • Small 1-2" compression springs. Or grab some springs out of dried up click pens.
  • Wood glue
  • E6000 glue
  • Electric hand drill and charged batteries
  • A set of bits and a phillips head attachment. Be sure to have a very fine drill like a 1/16th bit for making lead holes.
  • Saw and Sandpaper. I use a Grizzly Bandsaw and Table sander but you use what you have available. Just do it safely.
  • 16 ga tie wire
  • Wire snips/Pliers
  • Spray paint or Acrylic paints
  • Patina paint and activator- I use Modern Masters. Some people make their own.

About your Facilitator:


  • David English

    Dave English is a puppeteer, writer, and educator. Dave has a BFA in Puppetry from West Virginia University, did his internship at the University of Michigan’s Festival of New Works, and attended the National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Center twice. English’s experience developing and implementing high quality educational programming stretches twenty years.

    He worked as the Studio Programs Coordinator at the Andy Warhol Museum, helped to develop Pittsburgh’s Remake Learning Network with a community foundation called The Sprout Fund, and served as the Director of Membership and Development at The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. Dave is a FINE Resident Artist at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, A Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh Friends of Music Fellow, A Flight School Fellow Artist, a Distillery Residency Artist, an PA Arts Artist Opportunity Award Recipient, and Boom Concepts Studio Artist.

    In 2020 he finished a full length puppet movie that he wrote and directed called “The Dragon of Polish Hill” as part of the New Hazlett Theatre’s CSA Series Season 7 with support from The Heinz Endowments. Dave currently works as an after school tutor with Homeless Children’s Education Fund and as a freelance artist/writer, and c0-hosts Boom Puppet Karaoke Slam.


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Ticket - Kinetic Fish Sculptures
  • Jul 11, 2021 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Pacific)
Age Range: 18+ 14-18 12-14 8-12
Have questions or comments? Email us at makercampus@make.co

Maker Campus session recordings will be made available to all paid registrants.
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