Halsway Manor’s status as the National Centre for Folk Arts started when Frances Gair Wilkinson purchased the Manor 11thJune 1965. A full history can be found on Halsway Manor’s website.
Frances was an artist and came from an extremely creative and freethinking family. However, I am very interested in the family’s links to puppetry, as it seems a natural progression for my work.
Francis’ Uncle Walter built his own barrow which he took around the country to perform his shows entitled ‘the Peep Show’. He seems tireless in his resolve to master his art and his travels seem to be an act of love rather than necessity
Walter wrote a series of eight books about his travelling puppet shows which can be found in Halsway’s library.
At the beginning of any project there can be periods of self-doubt, especially when the work is taking a different direction. Walter’s books generously share his own doubts together with his belief that he could master his art. I must say I found his advice to be quite inspiring and very well timed.
All showmen should make their own figures. Like a picture, a puppet-show should be a work of art, dominated by one personality, organised into a harmonious production of form and colour by one definite style of thought.
In the next post I will let you know how making my own figures is going.