The Squeaking Tribe

The Hermit – Large Marionette



An old hermit walked around the village and its surrounds both day and night, and even in daylight still carried a lit lantern. One day the villagers had enough curiosity to ask him “Sir, why do you carry your lantern lit in daylight?” He said, “Because I’m searching for an honest man.”

This is a story most often attributed to the greek eremite Diogenes of Sinope, one major contributor to the Cynic school of philosophy.

The Hermit is one of Story’s most familiar and powerful archetypes, a protective figure, often an Old Man or Woman, who aids the Hero in their quest with an object of power, wise advice, or a glimpse into the future.

The Hermit is also the ninth card of the Major Arcana in Tarot Decks. Promoting solitude and introspection, he represents a kind of shamanistic hero, having internalized the lessons of a long life to the point that he is the lesson. The cowl The Hermit wears protects him and isolates him. The lantern he carries indicates the light of the knowledge he has earned and that now protects him in his isolation; it leads his way along the final leg of his mortal journey. There are two possible ways this card can be interpreted: first, the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with oneself, and second, the return from isolation to share the knowledge with others.

Fully articulated marionettes and interactive Art!

When I first began making marionette puppets back in 1996 (22 years young), I was living with a potter and a drum-maker in the foothills of Adelaide, South Australia. With access to a whole range of clays, I found myself one day sculpting a hollow head and face. “If I added clay hands and feet,” I thought to myself, “I’d have the basic counter balances for a puppet!” Which prompted two simple questions: a) Of what little marionettes I’d seen, why did so many of them look so cheap and crappy, and b) Why did none of them work!?

My challenge clearly was to make a good looking puppet that would actually perform. As the Internet was yet to become a household fixture and Google not yet a technocrat’s pipedream, I resorted to local libraries whose resources on the subject was terribly lacking. Luckily, the process for making a marionette was a time consuming one with many separate factors; hand sculpting with clay which needed days (sometimes weeks) to dry before firing, sewing and soft-sculpture creation of the ‘skeleton’, costuming and assembling of the basic character, construction of an appropriate crosspiece before stringing and detailing the final finished piece. In all, a process that required a 3-6 weeks work, an opportunity of course which allowed a LOT of extra time for dreaming up new puppet characters to make!

Every marionette I made, I was learning and discovering new ways to make them quicker and more effective and with every idea that ensued, I was having more and more ideas of other puppets I could make. The avalanche of ideas which consumed me in that first year alone could keep me busy crafting for a decade at least; having kept that passion alive for over twenty-five years, I easily have enough ideas to fill multiple lifetimes!

From these humble beginnings, I have since developed a whole range of different interactive effigies which borrow from the traditional methods of Puppetmaking while at the same time improve on ideas of articulation to create marionettes which everyone can use and indeed, with a little practice, manipulate like a professional. Sharing this with others and inspiring a new generation of artists and puppeteers to reignite the tradition is probably the greatest joy in this life I have made and now share with my wife, Sara.


Doll-form/ full marionette height approximately 73/125cm or 28/48in.


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