Sturgeon Moon – Recycled Puppet Show

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I love how the crafting world works. I met Holly Carrigan from Namaste Glass at the TNNA show in early January. Since then over email she’s introduced me to Kelly DelSol who along with her husband Ivan, runs the local community art theather, Centro DelSol in Cottage Grove, OR. The couple’s latest puppet play, called Sturgeon Moon contained elaborate giant puppets and decor all created by found objects. Kelly is very passionate about recycling and believes that any trash, can be turned into art. And I mean amazing art! Just take a look at the transformation from junk to puppets created for the show.

Kelly DelSol writes us this special Craftzine piece which goes behind the scenes of Sturgeon Moon to show us how recycled art can also tell a story.

Can you see Sturgeon Moon through the trash belt?

by Kelly DelSol

I wrote this super-multi-media puppet show after finding, The How and Why Wonder Book of The Moon in the dumpster behind my local library. It was written before anyone actually landed on the moon. It told innocent children of the 50’s “You can expect that by the time you are an adult, people will be making regular lunar voyages. Who knows? Maybe one day you, yourself, may make a trip to the moon!”

Yeah. Why not? The ticket is in the trash…you just gotta look for it.

Astrobot's Helmet

Let’s take Astrobot for example. This is his helmet. The top part is a metal bowl that someone gave away free at a garage sale. The mesh, wires, mouth grid and ear pieces were all parts of a stove that Ivan (my husband and collaborator) and I took apart instead of paying to dispose of. This was great fun. If you’ve never taken apart a major appliance, you probably should!

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I also used the side panels of the stove for the sides of my shadow puppet stage. Some lighting gel behind the open gills makes a neat effect, huh?

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The stove was utilized. I also used foam rescued from my friend’s bus seats to cushion Astrobot’s insides, and spent bike tubes to tie the costume on.

On the topic of costumes..

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I used a whole lot of cardboard and paper grocery bags to Papier Mache the wolf heads and paws. Holly and Matt from Namaste glass made the amazing eyes in trade for admission to the show. Scrap leather for the cute noses and carved dowel for the teeth.

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I said it was a puppet show, so it is my pleasure to introduce you to Dr Festung the shadow puppet and some of his robot crew, Hilbilitron, Swede-a-tron and Goatbot!

Three things are like gold to me when I find them.

  1. Broken Umbrellas
  2. Used Coffee Stirrers
  3. Non-corrugated cardboard

Here is why:

Umbrella wires are thin, strong, and have a small hole in the end. That is the control rod you see here. The Stirrers are great thin reinforcement, I remember this cardboard used here was a separator between sheafs of paper in its former life. Cereal boxes are great as well. The lighting gel in the details adds dramatic effect.

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For joints I poked holes through the stirrers and the cardboard, used a strong needle and double knotted dental floss on both sides of the joint. Then hot glued or burnt the dental floss on both sides of the joint. Simple but strong.

A weed is different from a plant because it is where someone didn’t want it to be growing. Trash is the same. Someone decided it wasn’t useful. It all is an element of the earth and human labor. Ever since humans have begun exploring space, they have always been jettisoning unwanted things into the orbit of earth. Its been called “the trash belt”.

Perhaps the how and why wonder books will write another book on the moon to tell the innocent children of the 3050’s that there is a moon somewhere behind all that trash…or maybe we can start re-using it for houses and sculpture and spaceships and hats and cup holders and dog beds and hot tubs.

Want to see more? Flickr photos are here and you can order a copy of Sturgeon Moon on dvd at or visit

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