The Creative Call|The Woman Behind the Shadows

I believe in the truth of fairy tales more than I believe in the truth in the newspaper. – Lotte Reiniger

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Today Google is celebrating the contributions and art of animator Lotte Reiniger (just Google her images). Truthfully, I had never heard of Lotte Reiniger, but after today I won’t forget her. Her influence in modern animation is undeniable. Once I’m in the classroom, I will be using her art and techniques as a cool project to explore ancient art traditions and careers in animation.

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She is one of the pioneers of animation film. Lotte as a child was influenced by ancient Chinese art of silhouette puppetry so much so she built her own shadow puppet theater. When she got older she took that talent and skill and adapted it to cinema. She made over 60 films, over her career, all using her signature technique.

The art of shadow puppetry is an ancient form of storytelling which uses flat articulated figures (shadow puppets) to create cut-out figures which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen. Shadow puppetry is a popular form of entertainment around the world. Check out this great article from the Kennedy Center and here’s a good lesson to get your kids learning about shadow puppetry.

I couldn’t wait to try this art technique out so I enlisted the help of my son and this is what we created. We’re clearly not pros but we did have fun and isn’t that the whole point anyway.

Sea Life-The Crab

Sea Life-The Shark

We used these templates from Martha Stewart.

Shadow Puppets

Why don’t you create your own? Today’s creative call is for you to create your own shadow puppetry video. Share the link here or share it on your social media.

Here are a few more ideas for lessons.

  1. Dick Blick Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppetry
  2. Make your own shadow box
  3. Download and print out these great templates over at Martha Stewart.com (that’s what we did)

Stay classy!

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