I don’t think many people can say that they have made a puppet of themselves – but I can tick it off my bucket list.
I met up with How it Felt’s director, Deborah Chapman, to find out how her puppet workshops can help those with additional support needs to communicate through puppetry.
The creations are also used to help give a voice to those who struggle with their mental health.
The social enterprise began when Deborah attended Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and created a short film using puppets alongside audio from people affected by ADHD.
Over the last three years Deborah has taken training courses in mental health first aid and other classes relating to various mental health conditions and care.
Since then she has taken her puppetry from a university project to a self-employed business travelling around Scotland holding workshops.
Deborah said: “We have had people with autism who are not usually vocal at school or at home take part in workshops.
“They have taken their puppet away and lots of people have noticed a difference in their communication.
“I get quite emotional and it is really touching to know you are helping people.
“It is quite surreal that this has turned into my full-time job but I also do commission work too.
“It is always such great fun and everyone is always so creative.”
Through the art of puppetry Deborah holds workshops relating to these mental health care themes, giving a voice to all.
How it Felt has grown into a collaborative business that provides puppet, drama and film making workshops.
It’s focused mainly on, but not limited to, mental and emotional health issues that can be difficult to talk about and often misunderstood.
I headed to Deborah’s home to get a one-to-one workshop where I created my very own “Little Amz”, using the soles of slippers to create the top and bottom jaw and a children’s play mat square to make the body. I even attached some lovely fake eyelashes for added effect.
Deborah had a fantastic way of talking me through each and every step, which made it not only a fun, quirky thing to do, but also a very relaxing crafting session.
And the final product, as my colleagues pointed out, was very lifelike…
“This is the weirdest thing I have ever done.”
Tele reporter Amy Hall was dispatched to create her very own puppet as soon as we heard about social enterprise How It Felt’s unique project – and the results didn’t disappoint.