Mastering the art of puppetry, papermaking and sculpture

 A giant puppet that Kalbarri residents helped make and operate under the guidance of a professional artist at last year’s Kalbarri Zest Festival.

A giant puppet that Kalbarri residents helped make and operate under the guidance of a professional artist at last year’s Kalbarri Zest Festival.

Kalbarri visitors and residents are invited to try their hand at creating puppets, paper, origami and sand sculptures in the lead up to the Kalbarri Zest Festival on September 19 and 20.

Following the extremely popular puppet making workshops held in the lead up to last year’s Zest Festival, professional artist Karen Hethey will return to Kalbarri to run workshops teaching adults and kids how to construct and operate Japanese Bunraku puppets.

She will operate a ‘drop-in’ workshop for people of all ages between August 15 and September 18, at the old St John Ambulance Sub Centre building on Kaiber Street.

Interested people should try to arrive for the first session at 10am on August 15.

Ms Hethey will also be calling for about 15 volunteer puppeteers to learn the art of operating the puppets in preparation for their use in the Zest Festival’s Chamber of Rhetoric performance on Saturday September 19.

The performance will bring together music, dance, acting and poetry to create a mesmerising performance at sunset in the glow of a giant bonfire on Chinaman’s Beach.

Zest Festival director Rebecca Millar said the puppetry workshops and performance at last year’s festival had captured the hearts of the township.

“These workshops were just amazing – not only for the way we learnt how to make these incredible and enormous puppets but also for the way they brought people together in a really informal setting.

“It was just beautiful to watch young and old and the impromptu conversations that unfolded as these people worked side by side on their craft.

“And then, to see the puppets come to life at the performance was spellbinding.”

In other activitiesartist Marianne Penberthy will conduct a papermaking workshop for interested residents at Kalbarri’s Art and Craft Centre on August 15 from 1pm to 4pm.

In addition, another artist, Marina Baker, is calling for volunteers to learn the art of sand sculpting at 10am on Wednesday September 16.

She will enlist locals to help her create a giant Buddha sand sculpture for show at the Zest Festival. On the festival weekend, festival-goers will be able to witness the sculpture while watching an attendant gracefully rake the sand.

Festival goers will also have the chance to view large origami sculptures up to one metre high, situated on the Kalbarri foreshore. Some of the sculptures will have been dissembled, in the hope of enticing the brave and patient to return them to form.

Other festival weekend cultural activities will include making theatre masks, flying box kites, learning tea ceremonies, and reading calligraphy and poems.

This year’s Zest Festival focuses on the cultures of China and Japan in the fourth year of a five-year festival commemorating the 300th anniversary of the sinking of the Dutch East India merchant ship the Zuytdorp on the cliffs north of Kalbarri.

The festival is funded by the Community Arts Network WA, Catalyst Community Arts Fund and the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Scheme, which is jointly funded by Royalties for Regions.

The Zest Festival is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

For more information visit the website