Kamela Portuges and Lee Armstrong have been making puppets and performing together for over 25 years. Armstrong, who’d gotten her big puppetry break on Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, met talented sculptor Portuges at a puppet festival; the two soon combined their talents to create their Sonoma, Calif., studio, Images In Motion. Since then, they’ve been steadily producing TV shows, commercials, and live performances, as well as lending their expertise to major studios and toy companies. Perhaps most memorably, you may have seen their marionettes in the movie Being John Malkovich; director Spike Jonze sought Portugues specifically after seeing the line of celebrity toys she’d sculpted.
Watch Portuges and Armstrong’s puppets in motion, learn how they keep the ancient art of puppetry current with an infusion of 3D printing technology, then visit the Make: Believe page for effects tutorials and even more ways to blur the line between dreams and reality.
And here’s a slideshow with some more of what we saw during our visits.
Check out our growing collection of Make: Believe posts about the people who bring fantasy to life. We spotlight miniature-making, sculpting, molding, figure-modding, latex mask-making, and much more with tutorials, interviews, reviews, and good stories.
MAKE Volume 34: Join the robot uprising! As MAKE's Volume 34 makes clear, there’s never been a better time to delve into robotics, whether you’re a tinkerer or a more serious explorer. With the powerful tools and expertise now available, the next great leap in robot evolution is just as likely to come from your garage as a research lab. The current issue of MAKE will get you started. Explore robot prototyping systems, ride along with the inventors of the OpenROV submersible, and learn how you can 3D-print your own cutting-edge humanoid robot for half the price. Plus, build a coffee-can Arduino robot, a lip balm linear actuator, a smartphone servo controller, and much more