Q&A with The Everywhere Bear puppet maker: Jan Zalud

July 30, 2018

We spoke to puppet designer and maker Jan Zalud about his beautiful creations for The Everywhere Bear, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and illustrations by Rebecca Cobb.

How did you begin designing the puppets for the show?
I started by making rough models in hard foam to get an idea of the shapes and how the puppets might look and move.

What materials do you use?
The boy is mainly made of wood but some foam was used to keep the weight down. Some of the wood is soft and light (Cedar), some harder for strength (Jelutong).

The other puppets were mainly made of a mixture of Cedar but also some Jelutong when it needed to be stronger and heavier. Nylon cord for joints. Wire for the eyes and other metal bits and pieces. I also used a hidden magnet for part of the cat’s control.

What are the main things you have to consider when designing a puppet?
Establishing the puppet’s size, shape and proportions. It is important to work out the jointing. How much movement can each joint produce. Then it is about how to control the puppet. That is also where the weight considerations come in.

What made you become a puppet designer?
Actually it came from being a frustrated abstract painter and it was a way of distracting myself. Eventually the puppet making took over.

How does it feel seeing your puppets on stage?
I obviously get a strong sense of satisfaction but I am also looking to see how the puppets look on stage and what I could have done better.

Which was your favourite character to create?
The cat and it’s simplicity. It’s movements make me smile.