Sesame Street Puppet Designer Gives Tips At TCC Workshop

Tuesday, October 25th 2016, 8:35 pm
By: News On 6

At its downtown campus, Tulsa Community Campus offered students a chance to make puppets under the watchful eye of an Emmy-winning Sesame Street puppet designer.

Kip Rathke is Creative Director at Sesame Workshop - the educational nonprofit behind Sesame Street; he’s at TCC this week hosting workshops on creating flying puppet creatures.

Tuesday, Rathke gave them the basics then turned their creativity loose.

I was curious about how a cast of puppets could be so captivating to generations of kids and their parents; he told me Muppet creator Jim Henson learned it was in the eyes.

"Where he put the pupils on the eyes. He moved them closer together and made them so they were focused for the close-up look of the television camera," he said.

That made them really connect with the TV audience.

Tuesday, the people at the workshop tried to connect with flying creatures of all kinds.

They had a whole table full of supplies to spark their imaginations - foam, feathers, felt and lots of hot glue can make a pretty impressive butterfly.

Rathke said entry-level puppeteers often are charged with operating flying things on a stick.

His first job at Sesame Street was gluing thousands of yellow feathers on Big Bird costumes for five bucks an hour; he’s doing better now, I think.

Rathke has events at TCC Wednesday. You can find more information here.